Amid COVID-19 concerns, a University of Florida survey reports 60% of those questioned are considering voting by mail in the upcoming general election. While stories abound about the potential for votes being delayed by a deluge of ballots at the last minute amid cutbacks in the U.S. Postal Service, there is another sticking point with the potential to disenfranchise voters — signature verification.
In Florida, ballots must arrive at the county Supervisor of Elections office by 7 p.m. on Election Day. The signature on the ballot is compared with the one on file at the Supervisor’s office and — if there seems to be a discrepancy or there is no signature on the ballot — it is sidetracked into the “curing” process.
While the process is designed to catch those who might be attempting to cheat the system, it also can mean legitimate votes are being flagged and not counted.
If the ballot is received early enough, the Supervisor can contact the voter, who can then sign and return an affidavit and the vote will be counted. However, in a time crunch or if the voter doesn’t take the required verification steps, their ballot won’t count.
It happened to Troy Fritzhand’s nonagenarian grandmother in Florida. “She forgot to sign, and she had to go through the cure process. It was just too tedious of a process for her … so she’s one of those people who didn’t have a vote counted.”
Unlike most of us, Fritzhand and his two brothers are trying to do something about it. The trio of twentysomethings is rolling out their new tech company, Ballot, in time for the General Election in November. Their software cuts out humans by comparing signatures electronically.
“The heart of our mission is to both help counties process elections, but also to ensure every legitimate vote is counted and has the ability to be counted,” Fritzhand said.
For more information about Ballot, visit https://sign.vote.
August 18, 2020 at 9:14 am
I live in Florida and have voted here for twelve years.
In total, have been voting for more than 40 years, and have lived in three different states.
Have never had an issue until the last time I voted in person in FL – was interrogated by the poll worker that my signature at the polling location did not match my signature on file. Showed him my license, and he reluctantly allowed me to proceed.
Recently, I voted for the primary via mail. Received a call that my signature did not match my signature on file. I had to fill out paperwork, attesting that I am who I said I am, plus send a picture of my license with my signature on it.
Could it be because I’m a registered Democrat? Hate to think that, but I’m getting a little paranoid. This is a BIG issue – time can run out, or people won’t bother to go through the verification process. Very worrisome.
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