According to the ACLU, California’s election code requires election officials to reject vote-by-mail ballots if they believe a signature on the ballot does not match the signature on file.
The problem lies in the lack of handwriting-analysis training for election officials, according to the petition – a problem compounded by the fact that voters whose ballots are rejected aren’t told, meaning thousands of voters are discounted without their knowledge. . . .
[Secretary of State Alex] Padilla’s office pushed back against many of the claims made in the petition, saying that California has one of the lowest vote-by-mail rejection rates in the nation. . . .
The petitioners want a judge to declare the specific elections statute unconstitutional while declaring that a ballot may be discarded on the basis of a signature mismatch only if the voter is notified first.Signature verification is a vital protection for the integrity of mail ballots, particularly in a state like California with no accompanying voter ID requirement, extremely messy voter rolls, problems with deceased persons voting, and problems with mailing a large number of ballots to one address. California needs reform of its mail ballot process.
Providing notice to voters whose ballots are disqualified due to mismatched signatures is a good policy -- both to provide notice to voters that someone has fraudulently voted in their names and to allow voters whose ballots were incorrectly disqualified the opportunity for their votes to be counted -- but it is a policy decision that should be made by the people's elected representatives, not by unelected judges prodded by liberal activists not willing to go through the deliberative process to enact a new law. It should be considered with other reforms as California's mail-in ballot system is a mess and the legislature should work together in a bipartisan process to fix it.