#4ThePeople: Pay attention to your signature to make sure your ballot isn’t challenged

SPOKANE, Wash. — We’re less than a week out from Election Day and ballots are rolling into the elections office. Occasionally, those ballots can be challenged, or rejected, for a few different reasons.

From the moment your ballot is received at the Elections Office to the point where it’s counted, that vote will go through about six different steps, to verify and secure your vote. That is six steps, as long as there are no issues with it.

The good news is that if there is a problem, you’ll be notified.

Thousands of ballots are rejected or challenged in Washington every election. Most of that ties back to your signature.

“We scan them to make sure they’re eligible. It takes a picture of the envelope and crops the signature for signature verification,” explained Mike McLaughlin, Spokane County Elections Manager.

The signature on the envelope elections receives is compared to the signature you shared when you registered to vote.

Humans do that comparison and if there’s an issue, a letter is sent to the voter so they can correct their ballot and get it counted.

“What was processed today, letters will go out tomorrow. So we’re sending out over 200 letters a day to voters to tell them how to resolve their signature issues,” McLaughlin added.

They’ll also call people up until three days before certification of the election. Voters then have till the 28th of November to return letters for their ballots to be counted.

The ballots can also be challenged if they’re not eligible (for instance if they moved,) if they were signed with a power of attorney (that’s not allowed,) if a witness was needed, or if they came in too late.

The best way to make sure your ballot is counted is to follow its progress, by tracking it on votewa.org. 

Over 359,000 people are registered to vote in Spokane County.

You can register, and vote, up until 8:00 PM on Tuesday, November 8th.

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