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Elections Defined: Ballot Curing Provides Safeguard

Well over half the states provide ballot curing for absentee or mail ballots.

By Wendy Underhill  |  June 20, 2024

Elections Defined Video Series

This series of short videos features NCSL Director of Elections and Redistricting Wendy Underhill talking about some of the key steps of election administration you may not have heard of—from ballot curing to voter list maintenance to what it means to be a poll worker, and everything in between. View the complete series. 

Several years ago, when my daughter voted an absentee ballot, her signature on the return envelope did not match the one in the voter registration file, so her ballot was initially rejected.

That’s a good thing.

It means there was a safeguard. She did get a second chance though. Our election office contacted her to verify if this was indeed her ballot. It was, and the problem was simply that her signature had changed since she first registered.

In election speak, my daughter cured her ballot and her vote was then counted. The local election office had sent her a letter and explained the process. Well over half the states provide ballot curing for absentee or mail ballots. This process allows voters to fix mistakes and lets election officials check up on any ballots that didn’t pass muster.

Ready for more election administration answers? View the complete series for info on the topics below. Still have questions? More details can be found on these and other topics through NCSL’s election resources.

  • Ballot Duplication.
  • Ballot Collecting.
  • Ballot Curing. 
  • Provisional Ballots.
  • Pre-Processing Ballots.
  • Poll workers vs. Poll Watchers.
  • Post-election Audits.
  • Canvassing and Certification.
  • Results Reporting.
  • Voter ID.
  • Voter Registration List Maintenance.
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