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WKSU is looking for the answers to the questions you have about Ohio in a project we call "OH Really?" It's an initiative that makes you part of the news gathering process.

Portage County Elections Director Says Bipartisan Teams Help Secure Ohio Ballots. OH Really?

Portage County ballot drop box
Kabir Bhatia
In Portage County -- and every one of Ohio's counties -- the ballot drop box is being monitored be security cameras. It also has two locks and can only be opened with the keys from a two-person team: one Democrat and one Republican.

You have questions about voting this fall: everything from how votes are counted to whether your vote is secure. You asked – we’re answering in this week’s OH Really? Election Protection conversation with Faith Lyon, director of the Portage County Board of Elections.

Joe from Summit County asks, “How do I know if my vote was counted? I have gotten this question from a number of folks who believe the election will be ‘rigged.’”

Lyon says, “I can assure you, in Ohio, the election will not be rigged. In fact, every ballot is accounted for by a two-person team – one Democrat and one Republican."

There is also a link to track absentee ballots in Ohio.

“And for those who vote in-person, they’re actually casting their ballot while they’re voting -- so they can be assured their ballot is being tabulated at that time," Lyon said.

Drop box security and delivering ballots
The next question comes from Cynthia from Stark County. She wants to know if there are security cameras at the county ballot drop boxes? And she asks, “if a person would happen to drop off numerous ballots, and the camera footage shows the action, would all of the ballots in the drop box be negated – even if they were not dropped off by that person?”

Ohio has very specific rules about who can drop off a ballot for another person – mostly limited to family.

In the instance where someone is dropping off ballots which they are not legally permitted to – such as for neighbors - Lyon says there would be an investigation of the ballots that were dropped off in groups with similar addresses. She adds that this would not affect the other ballots in the drop box.

The drop box – like the ones in every county in Ohio – does have a surveillance camera. And it has two locks, which can be opened only be a team of one Democrat and one Republican.

Envelopes within envelopes
Finally, Janet from Cuyahoga County writes, “I must put my mail-in ballot inside an ‘identification envelope’ with my name and address on the outside. Then I put that inside another envelope to mail in. Doesn't that mean that the person opening the inner envelope can see my vote?”

Lyon says that when they are opening envelopes, they concentrate on the voter’s information and that the person who sent the ballot is who they say they are.

“We are trying to process an election -- 20,000 or 30,000 votes -- that we are manually processing through the system. We do not care to -- nor do we -- take the time to see how an individual votes. We are working to process the election, not see what the turnout will be.”

We’ll answer more of your election questions next Monday. You can ask your question for “OH Really?” here.

Kabir Bhatia is a senior reporter for Ideastream Public Media's arts & culture team.