Franklin County voters won't have to visit the Pasco election center to see ballots being handled for the Nov. 8 general election.
Instead, a live webcam will show what happens in the room where ballots are tabulated.
Franklin County is launching its election webcam Saturday.
Benton County's election webcam already is live for the general election. Officials started using it during this year's primary.
Franklin County's webcam was part of an update to the county's elections center at 116 N. Third Ave. in Pasco.
Franklin County Auditor Matt Beaton said they wanted to improve ballot security while increasing transparency. The added cameras cost almost $9,000.
Other changes included adding a door so that the area where ballot signatures are checked and ballots are sorted is connected to the tabulating room without having to enter the room where ballots are secured.
And security cameras have been added, which also are being used to show the public areas of the center that can't be directly seen from the visitor viewing area.
Ballots were secure before, but this is just an improvement, Beaton said.
Citizens can already watch ballots being tabulated from the visitor viewing area. And a new monitor has been added to allow people to see where signatures are checked and ballots are sorted and secured, Beaton said.
"It's really just to increase people's inclusion in the process," he said.
The webcam only will be live when there is activity in the tabulating room and during the canvassing board meetings.
The auditor's office has posted a schedule online that, along with the webcam, can be found at www.co.franklin.wa.us/departments.php by choosing voter registration/elections under the auditor menu and clicking on Election Webcam.
Beaton said he still encourages people to come watch at the elections center.
Benton County Auditor Brenda Chilton said the webcam seemed to work well during the primary election.
There were about 150 views.
Chilton said it cost less than $100 to add the webcam, and they may add a second in the future.
She said some people commented that it was a little boring to watch, but Chilton said that is OK. It's about transparency and gives citizens an option to watch the process without having to drive to the Prosser courthouse.
People also can watch ballot handling from an area in the auditor's office. Ballot processing is done from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays.
The Benton County webcam is at www.bentonelections.com/General_Election.html and click on the colored TV.