Time is Running Out to Cure Rejected Ballots

ballot curing
Ballot curing enables voters to resolve an issue with a rejected ballot and get it counted. (Twitter)

Absentee and provisional ballots in the presidential race are still being counted in several states where the margin of victory could be a few thousand votes in either direction, or even fewer for local races—and this year, absentee ballots will hold more influence than in any other election.

However, throughout the country, there are thousands of ballots that have yet to be validated because of issues—most commonly due to missing or mismatched signatures.

Luckily, many voters have the ability to address ballot rejection through ballot curing, also known as ballot remediation, which enables voters to resolve an issue with a rejected ballot and get it counted.

A number of states allow this, but the process can vary down to the county level.

Here’s how to ensure your ballot is accepted.

Georgia and Nevada

In these states, election officials are required to notify voters if their ballot is missing a signature, or if the signature can’t be verified.

Once a voter is made aware of their rejected ballot, they can send in a photo ID and signature by email or fax (Georgia) or electronically on a smartphone (Nevada).

In Georgia, the deadline to cure ballots is three days after the election, by Friday, Nov. 6. In Nevada, it is a full week after.

Click here to track your ballot in Georgia, and here for Nevada.


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Arizona

In Arizona, voters have five days after the election to resolve signature discrepancies on rejected ballots.

However, the process only applies to mismatched signatures, not missing signatures. Ballots with no signatures will be completely discarded, with no opportunity for curing post-Election Day.

Click here to track your ballot in Arizona.

Pennsylvania

There is no consensus for ballot curing procedures in Pennsylvania counties.

Some counties flag rejected ballots, which automatically emails voters to alert them, if their email address is available. Some go even further to reach out directly, such as via phone, or to mail ballots back to voters for curing.

However, other counties mark rejected ballots as “received,” which falsely implies that they were counted, and leaves no room for curing.

Click here to track your ballot in Pennsylvania.

Wisconsin

In Wisconsin, clerks and political organizations are able to flag voters whose ballots have been rejected. If a voter is notified, they may have time for the clerk to mail the ballot back for a signature—but due to time constraints, it’s more likely that voters are asked to do so in person, at the clerk’s office.

However, non-signature related rejections likely won’t be found until Election Day because state law doesn’t allow ballots to be opened until then. As a result, these types of errors—such as accidentally voting for two candidates—are often found when it’s too late to fix them.

Click here to track your ballot in Wisconsin.

Michigan

Unlike in previous elections, this northern state now requires clerks to notify voters of any signature issues, so long as the ballot is received by 8 p.m. the night before the election.

From the time the voter is notified, there is a 48-hour window for the issue to be resolved, either by signing the original ballot or starting over with a new one.

Click here to track your ballot in Michigan.

All Other States

Check out the ballot tracker tools at Vote.org to make sure your absentee ballot has been received and accepted by your local election officials. Then, spread the word to your community to ensure they do the same!

Voter Protection Hotline

Ballot curing is just one way to make voting as accessible as possible, and there are only few days left to take advantage of it. If ballot trackers indicate that your ballot hasn’t been counted, but officials haven’t contacted you regarding how to proceed, call the voter protection hotline for guidance: 866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683).

No candidate can prematurely decide the results of the election, and every single vote matters in the final days of counting.

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About

Sophie Dorf-Kamienny is a Ms. Fellow and former Editorial Intern. She recently graduated high school and is completing a gap year before attending Tufts University.