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Mismatched signatures could deem ballot invalid

Posted at 4:07 AM, Oct 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-19 07:58:39-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — The way we sign our names can change over time… so what does that mean when you’re filling out your ballot in the 2020 election?

"That signature should match the signature we have on file with their voter registration," said Acting Elections Division Chief Laura Cantu.

Cantu said your signature on file comes from the DMV or your voter registration. That signature will be compared to the signature on your ballot through a verification process.

“The signature is captured when it first goes through our sorter and then we have autosingature verification," said Cantu.

First, the Elections Office sorter will scan your signature and do the comparison digitally, but that’s not all.

“We still have every signature verified by our employees," said Cantu.

Your signature will be checked with technology, but also real people trained to do so.

“The staff that has been trained will provide the training and let them know what to look for [if] it’s, you know, loops or whatever they’re looking for to ensure that signature matches," said Cantu.

According to the California Secretary of State’s website, other characteristics checked include the spacing and direction of the signature, and whether or not the pen was lifted between letters.

But we don’t need to worry too much. The website also says your signature needs to possess “multiple, significant, and obvious differing characteristics with all signatures in the voter’s registration record” to be deemed invalid.

But if this does happen, Cantu says a letter will be mailed to you.

“Any challenged signatures, we send out a cure letter, allowing them, it's usually right up to the date that we certify the election, so we’ll allow them plenty of time to submit an updated signature to our office," she said.

Cantu said you can mail back that letter before the election is certified, confirming your identity and ensuring that your ballot is still counted.

For more information on the voter signature verification process, click here.