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Ballot signature mismatches cause voter anxiety 

If you've turned in your Nov. 3 election ballot and received an alert that it's been rejected due to a signature mismatch, don't panic.

San Luis Obispo County Clerk-Recorder Tommy Gong said that the alert may be premature and remedied by his office through the normal course of ballot processing.

click to enlarge SIGNING BALLOTS While some voters are already receiving alerts that their ballots have signature match problems, the SLO County clerk-recorder said not to worry yet. - FILE PHOTO
  • File Photo
  • SIGNING BALLOTS While some voters are already receiving alerts that their ballots have signature match problems, the SLO County clerk-recorder said not to worry yet.

"It's a timing issue that voters need to understand," Gong told New Times. "Many have subscribed to the ballot tracking system. It will deliver a message out to the voter: your ballot was delivered, submitted, even that your ballot was immediately challenged."

Gong told New Times that his office's ballot signature check process involves multiple levels of review. If there's any question about whether a ballot signature matches the voter's signature on file during the first look, it will be marked for further inspection. The election office uses DMV records or voter registration documents to compare voter signatures.

"The first stage is the most conservative," Gong explained. "That way there's a second or third pair of eyes on it to make a final determination."

By the end of ballot processing, Gong said very few ballots are flagged for signature mismatches—less than 1 percent in the March 2020 primary election. For those that are, the county is required to notify the voter, who is provided an opportunity to cure the mismatch.

Because of California's new ballot tracking system, Gong said voters are receiving notifications early in the process, causing confusion and anxiety.

"We didn't know exactly how the messaging was going to take place," he said. "This is a pain point that many of the counties are experiencing right now because of the instantaneous tracking."

Gong said voters who receive the alert are welcome to call his office at (805) 781-5080 for further explanation. Δ

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