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caption: King County Elections has hired up to 150 temporary staff to process ballots. Jane Reese, left, says they're taking precautions to prevent virus transmission.
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King County Elections has hired up to 150 temporary staff to process ballots. Jane Reese, left, says they're taking precautions to prevent virus transmission.
Credit: KUOW/Amy Radil

Here's how someone in Ireland votes in Washington's Democratic primary

Presidential primary ballots are due Tuesday, March 10 in Washington state.

But not all voters cast ballots by mail or drop box.

Myrissa Yamashiro is one of those who uses a different method – voting by email.

Some cybersecurity experts, and Washington’s own secretary of state, say voting by email attachment is risky because it’s easy to hack.

But Yamashiro doesn’t seem worried. She lived in Sammamish for 20 years before moving to Dublin, Ireland, and she’s used to this -- it's her third time voting by email.

From Dublin, she walked us through the process.

“I receive an email in King County and the email includes a link to my ballot.”

“So I click on the link and it's going to look up my ballot based on the information I provide, which is my first and last name as well as my birthdate, which I'm doing right now.”

“It is asking me: Are you an overseas voter or service voter? Yes, I am an overseas voter and it's searching for my ballot.”

Most states allow some form of electronic voting for military and overseas voters, including Washington. The goal is to make it easier for those voters, who are sometimes unable to participate any other way. Turnout was around 7% nationally in 2016.

“So my ballot is in front of me on my computer screen ... so I will mark my ballot and ... that is it.”

So ... who did Yamashiro vote for?

“Um, you know, it's a process of elimination at this point.”

So voting by email sounds simple and convenient -- but you can't try this at home. Only military and overseas voters are eligible.

And right now there are no plans to expand electronic voting to other residents of Washington state.