VOPP: Table 15: States That Permit Voters to Correct Signature Discrepancies

8/7/2020

This table is part of NCSL’s Voting Outside the Polling Place report.

It is not uncommon for an absentee/mailed ballot to be returned in an envelope that has a problem, such as a missing signature or a signature that doesn’t match records.

Some states have a process in statute for voters to “cure” these mistakes in time for the ballot to be counted. These states notify voters that there was a problem—either the ballot envelope was not signed, or the signature does not appear to match the one on file—and then provide the voters with a process and time frame to verify that the ballot is indeed theirs. In states that do not have such a process, ballots with missing or mismatched signatures on the envelope are not counted.

Nineteen states require that voters be notified when there is a missing signature or signature discrepancy—and given an opportunity to correct it. Details are provided in the table below.

State Notification Process Correction Process

Arizona

Ariz. Rev. Stat. §16-550
Election officials shall make reasonable efforts to contact the voter, advise the voter of the inconsistent signature, and allow the voter to correct or the county to confirm the inconsistent signature. Voters have until the fifth business day after an election to correct a signature.

California

CA Elect Code § 3019
Voters of ballots with mismatching signatures are notified a minimum of eight days prior to certification of the election. Voters have until 5 p.m. two days prior to certification of the election to provide a signature verification statement in person. If a voter fails to sign the absentee ballot envelope, they have until 5 p.m. on the eighth day after the election to submit an unsigned ballot statement.

Colorado

Colo. Rev. Stat. §1-7.5-107.3
Voters of ballots with missing/mismatching signatures are notified by mail within three days (or within two days after the election) of any discrepancy. A confirmation form accompanying the letter must be returned to the county clerk and recorder within eight days after Election Day to count.

Florida

Flor. Stat. § 101.68
County election supervisors shall notify any voter whose signature is missing or doesn’t match records. Voters may cure ballots until 5 p.m. on the second day after the election.

Georgia

Georgia Code § 21-2-386
If ballot is rejected, the voter is promptly notified of rejection.

The voter then has until 3 days after the election to submit voter ID in conjunction with an affidavit confirming the ballot was in fact theirs in order to cure the ballot.

Hawaii

Haw. Rev. Stat. § 11-106
Local election officials shall make an attempt to notify the voter by first-class mail, telephone or electronic mail to inform the voter of the procedure to correct the deficiency. The voter shall have five business days after the date of the election to cure the deficiency.

Illinois

10 ILCS 5/19-8
Voters are notified by mail of rejected ballot within two days of rejection. Voters have until 14 days after election to resolve issue with county election authority.

Iowa

Iowa Code § 53.18(2)
If a ballot affidavit is incomplete or absent, the commissioner must notify the voter within 24 hours. A voter may vote a replacement ballot until the day before the election or vote at the voter’s precinct polling place.

Massachusetts

Mass. Gen. Laws ch 54 § 94)
Prior to Election Day, the voter is notified and, if sufficient time allows, sent a new ballot if an affidavit signature is absent or the ballot is rejected for other reasons. Voter can submit a new absentee ballot.

Michigan

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.765b
If a ballot affidavit is found in error, the voter is contacted and provided an opportunity to visit the clerk's office or request a replacement ballot should time allow. Voter can request a replacement absentee ballot.

Minnesota

Minn. Stat. § 203B.121
If a ballot is rejected more than five days before Election Day a replacement ballot is mailed; if rejected within five days, election officials must contact the voter via telephone or email to provide options for voting a replacement ballot. Voter can request a replacement absentee ballot.

Montana

Mont. Code § 13-13-241; § 13-13-245
Election administrators shall notify voters of missing or mismatched signatures. Voters have until 8 p.m. on Election Day to cure their ballot.

Nevada

Nev. Rev. Stat. 293.325
Local election officials shall notify voters of missing or mismatched signatures. Voters have until the seventh day after the election to resolve the issue.

Ohio

Ohio Rev Code § 3509.06
Notice is mailed to voters whose ballots were rejected. Voters have until the seventh day after the election to resolve issue.

Oregon

Ore. Rev. Stat. § 254.431
County clerks notify voters by mail of any signature absence or discrepancy. Voters must complete and return the certified statement accompanying the notice by the 14th day after the election for their ballot to count.

Rhode Island

RI Gen L § 17-2-26           
Local board of canvassers is responsible for notifying voters by mail, email or phone. Voters have until seven days after Election Day to correct a deficiency.

Utah

Utah Code Ann. § 20A-3-308(7)
Election officials notify voters of ballot rejection in one to two business days if rejected before Election Day; seven days if rejected on Election Day; and seven days if rejected between Election Day and the end of official canvas. Voters must sign a new affidavit statement provided by the clerk’s office and return by 5 p.m. the day before the official canvass (seven-14 days after Election Day).

Washington

Wash. Admin. Code 434-261-050

Voters notified by mail of rejected ballots due to missing/mismatching signature statements. Voter must sign and return a curing statement before election certification (21 days after Election Day). Three days before certification, county auditors must attempt to contact by phone any voters with outstanding ballots to be cured.

Wisconsin

Wis. Stat. § 6.87(9)
Municipal clerks return any deficient absentee ballot envelopes with a new envelope to the voter. A voter may provide a corrected signature envelope until close of polls Election Day.