You Can Vote Even if You Can't Sign Your Name

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#5473.01

You Can Vote Even if You Can't Sign Your Name

This publication explains the different ways a voter can fulfill the signature requirement. A signature verification process is used to verify a voter’s signature on Vote-By-Mail or provisional ballots. In order to avoid rejection, your signature must match the one in your registration record. This is usually the signature you have on file at the DMV or on your voter registration affidavit.

This publication explains the different ways a voter can fulfill the signature requirement. A signature verification process is used to verify a voter’s signature on Vote-By-Mail or provisional ballots. In order to avoid rejection, your signature must match the one in your registration record. This is usually the signature you have on file at the DMV or on your voter registration affidavit.

You can make a “mark,” including a signature stamp

If you are unable to sign your name, you can make a mark or use a signature stamp. Your mark should be simple. Many voters use an “X” as their mark.

Instead of an ”X,” you can use a signature stamp. But before you can use a stamp to vote, you must first: (1) register to vote in-person at your county’s Elections Office, using the stamp to sign the voter registration affidavit in the presence of an election official in your county; or (2) register to vote online after you’ve used a signature stamp that the Department of Motor Vehicles has approved and sent to the Secretary of State.

Either way, have someone “witness” it

Next to your mark or signature stamp, have a “witness” write your name. Then have the witness write their own name somewhere near the signature line (some return envelopes will already have a “witness” line nearby—if so, use that). Your witness should be 18 years or older. Many voters use a family member or friend as a witness.

If I use a stamp, what should it look like?

If you are a person with a disability, your signature stamp can look like:

  1. Your actual signature;
  2. A “mark” or “symbol” that you adopt as your signature (e.g., an “X”);
    OR
  3. A signature of your name written by someone else that you adopt as your own.

Who can use a signature stamp?

Two types of people can use a signature stamp to register to vote and vote:

  1. A person with a disability:
    1. A.   Who is not able to write because of their disability; AND
    2. B.   Who owns a signature stamp.
  2. Someone other than the person with a disability who uses the stamp:
    1. A.   With the express consent of the stamp’s owner; AND
    2. B.   In the presence of the stamp’s owner.

 What if my signature has changed?

If your signature has changed, you should update your signature on record by re-registering to vote using a paper application. This application can be mailed or dropped off at your local county elections office. If you are unsure, you can request a copy of your signature by calling or emailing your county’s Elections Office.

 What happens if my signature is rejected?

There is always the possibility that your signature, whether a mark or stamp, is rejected. However, this does not mean that your vote will not be counted. You will have a second chance to provide a signature that matches the signature on your record, even if you forget to include your signature entirely.

County elections officials compare the signature you make on your ballot envelope to a signature on your voter registration record (usually on your voter registration affidavit or your driver’s license or state ID card). If they don’t match, your county must let you know in writing and include a “signature verification statement” for you to sign. Your county must send you the notice and signature verification statement no later than 8 days before the election is certified. You must sign and return the statement by 5:00pm, two days before the election is certified. Your county’s elections office will compare the new signature to your records and, if there’s a match, count your ballot. They will also use the new signature as the point of comparison in future elections.

Your county’s signature verification statement and instructions should also be available on your county’s Elections Office page.

Once you’ve mailed your ballot, you will be able to track when your ballot was mailed, received, and counted via Ballottrax. Ballottrax can send you notifications via text, email, or voice alert.

You can also check your Vote-By-Mail or Provisional Ballot status by phone or on some county websites.

Source(s): California Elections Code §§ 354.5, 3019

 

 

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