Although the battle over the use of barcodes on San Juan County election ballots is now in its seventh year, and much has changed over that time, there is at least one thing that the parties on either side of this protracted legal debate can agree upon. And that is, that the ballot-tracking software used to monitor the flow of ballots in and out of the county Elections office, called Mail-in Ballot Tracker, has never been certified by the state agency that oversees elections in Washington, the Secretary of State. San Juan County Superior Court Judge Don Eaton notified the litigants in a March 27 “letter decision” — sort of a heads up of an official ruling to come — that MiBT should be certified because, as defined by state law, it functions as part of the “voting system” used by the county to conduct elections.
Washington: Superior Court Judge rules ballot tracking software part of “election system” | San Juan Islander
San Juan Superior Court Judge Don Eaton issued a letter March 27 ruling VoteHere MiBT (Mail-in Ballot Tracker) is an integral part of the voting system, and required to undergo certification by the Secretary of State. State law prohibits voting systems not certified under the legislature’s program of public examination and expert testing. The court did not say that the county must discontinue use of the ballot tracker software during the pendency of the case, though that may come up at a later date.
The letter is in response to a citizen suit originally brought by Orcas Island residents Tim White and Allan Rosato in 2006. The two seek to remove the unique ballot bar codes. The VoteHere MiBT, is a paperless election tracking, processing and auditing software package. A series of processing station time stamps are used to track each ballot from the time it was sent to the voter to the time it was counted.