PHOENIX — They may seem like simple tasks, but thousands of Arizonans have had their ballots tossed out for failing to do one final thing before turning in their early ballot.
"Often times, the biggest mistake people make is they forget to put a signature on that outer green envelope," said ABC15 data expert Garrett Archer. "So, when they mail it back and there’s no signature to match, there’s no way to verify the vote against the database.”
Election officials across our state follow strict security measures to ensure they're counting votes properly, and verifying each voter before doing so.
"Whenever it comes to something a secret to democracy as a secret ballot, obviously there has to be some certain steps and procedures for security that need to be maintained to make sure that that ballot wasn’t tampered with and that it’s been cast by the person that it was sent to," added Archer.
According to the U.S. Elections Assistance Commission, more than 10,000 ballots were rejected in the 2016 general election in Arizona. More than 3,000 of those, due to missing signatures. Another 2,500 ballots were rejected when election officials were unable to verify signatures.
"Still, you should have an opportunity to sign, or verify your signature, if county recorders spot an issue when they receive your ballot."
"If the signature doesn’t match or exist, they are going to call you to try to get you to sign that ballot and you have seven days to sign it after the election," added Archer. "They’re going to do everything they can to make sure you get to sign that ballot.”
The deadline to return your early ballot is 7 p.m. on election night.