CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - With a heightened focus on security during this year’s election, the city of Charlottesville is making sure your votes area protected, and not just electronically.

Every paper ballot starts its life printed on a secure, certified printer monitored by a member of the electoral board. After the voter fills it out and scans it, the ballot drops into a locked black box under the machine.

The box remains sealed, both locked and zip-tied, until it’s picked up by the Sheriff's department and transferred to the Clerk of the Court, who holds it for a period of a year or more after the election.

"The state of Virginia now is required to have what they call ‘risk limiting audits.’ That's basically verification that the results are correct, that what matches the scanner number matches actually what is on the tape numbers,” said Charlottesville’s Director of Elections Melissa Morton.

After the retention period is over, the ballots are destroyed.

As for absentee ballots, the Virginia Department of Elections is offering a new program to keep an eye on those as well. It's partnered with a new service called “Ballot Scout” to provide ballot tracking, which will allow absentee voters to track their ballot in the mail, all the way until it is officially counted.