ST. LOUIS ( -- Election officials began preparing ballots Thursday as they gear up for Tuesday's election. In the city, more than 35,000 people have already voted. In St. Louis County, more than 190,000 people have cast ballots. 

Bettie Williams is the Republican deputy director for the city of St. Louis' Board of Election Commissioners and explained the ballot preparation process. She said election officials are allowed to begin preparing ballots five days prior to the election.

The ballot preparation process begins with a Republican and Democratic election officials sitting side-by-side at a table. Both open the ballots and verify that the name matches what is on the Missouri voter registration list.

"We check the signature against the digitized signature in our system. We also check to make sure that if the ballot requires a notary or does not require a notary depending on the reason stated on the envelope and application," said Williams. 

Officials also look for any red flags such as mismatched signatures. Once both parties verify the ballot, the ballot is initialed by both officials and placed in a bin.

The ballots are then placed into boxes which are then sealed until election day. At 6 a.m. on election day, the boxes are checked to make sure they have not been tampered with and then opened up. The ballots will then be fed through the scanner so the vote is counted. 

Ballots already received that are waiting to be processed are stored in a locked room across the hall. Very few people have access to the room where the ballots are stored and processed. A Republican and Democratic election official must be present to access the rooms to ensure voter integrity. 

Copyright 2020 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved

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