Monday, November 6, 2017

Pierce County Auditor and City Officials Meeting

We had a very busy week last week. We first went to the Pierce County Auditor's office to see how ballots are counted. The boys learned that there is a machine that cuts the envelopes open, but then people actually check the signatures and remove the ballots (then mix them up so that it is impossible to see who submitted the ballot) by hand before they are scanned by a recently purchased computer system. We got to see the secure location where the ballots are stored and how ballots are corrected if there is a mistake on them. The computer system that reads the ballots compiles the information on their server, which has only internal wiring and no wifi and cannot be hacked. On election day at 8 pm (and only then) will the ballots quickly get tallied from the server. The whole process is quite fascinating!

After lunch, we went to the Tacoma Municipal Building to meet with a variety of division heads with the city. City Manager Elizabeth Pauli (who the boys have been begging to meet for weeks!) started off the meeting by welcoming us to the conference. We also heard from fire and police, the heads of public works and waste management, representatives from neighborhood and community services, the city planner, and the economic development director. The boys especially enjoyed hearing about how the city decides where things can be located and how Tacoma attracts businesses to the city. It was a very formal presentation, with us sitting on one side of the conference tables and the officials sitting on the other!