The NC Board of Elections is considering whether to make protocol changes for absentee ballots, allowing county boards of election to match the signature on the voter registration form in order to decide whether to issue and accept absentee ballots. If the board determines the signatures on the registration do not match those for the absentee ballot document, they reject the request or the ballot. The requested ruling also asks that the county boards be able to “exhaust all available resources to confirm that the signature provided on an absentee container-return envelope is that of the purported voter.”

CUCC’s Do Justice Ministry invites you to use this form to submit a comment to the NC Board of Elections before July 5. Comment form here 

Does your current signature look the same as it did when you registered? What would be in the impact of this ruling for someone who has acquired a hand disability since they registered? If each county can make their own criteria, won’t one’s absentee vote be counted differently depending on where one lives in North Carolina?

Currently absentee ballot completion must be witnessed by two people or by a notary.

The NC Board of Elections wants to hear from you (comment form here).  In a few sentences, tell them why you oppose or support the proposal to require that absentee ballot signatures be reviewed for a match.

Here are some ideas:
• Many years have passed since I registered and my signature has changed. Will you accept my absentee request and ballot?
• I have a disability which effects my handwriting. Will you accept my absentee request and ballot?
• Sometimes I sign with my full name, sometimes I use my middle initial. (Or, sometimes I add “Jr., ” or “I have changed my name.”) I don’t recall how I signed when I registered. How can I be sure my absentee ballot will be counted?
• What will be the criteria to determine a match? How will those doing the review in each county be trained?
• I am concerned that the criteria for review and the training will vary from county to county, making voting unequal across our state.
• How do we avoid unintentional bias as reviewers look at unfamiliar names, spellings and diacritical marks?
• Won’t this slow the vote count as reviewers have to research signatures which appear not to match? Anxiety about slowed election results has already decreased public trust in our elections.
• How much will this increase the cost of elections in my county?
• Legitimate voters who are contacted to verify their signature or who have their vote thrown out will be frustrated and decrease their trust that the election is being fairly conducted.
• What is the evidence that this review will identify fraud?

To read more about the request for a ruling, see this article by the League of Women Voters of North Carolina, a nonpartisan group encouraging informed participation by citizens in government.

This Just Show Up is recommended by CUCC’s Do Justice Ministry. Contact for the project is Jane Smith smithjeg@mindspring.com.