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Wednesday, November 30, 2022

USA: How are mail-in and absentee votes verified?

FILE – A woman casts a ballot in the drop box during the Maryland primary election on Tuesday, July 19, 2022, in Baltimore. Whether a state requires voters to request an absentee ballot or participate in a universal ballot by mail, all ballots cast by mail or dropped into drop boxes are screened to ensure their validity. ( Associated Press photo/Julio Cortez, file)

How are absentee and mail-in votes verified?

Should a state require voters to request an absentee ballot or participate in universal mail-in voting, all ballots are presented by mail or dropped in a drop box to ensure their validity.

Election officials record each vote-by-mail so that voters cannot request more than one. Those ballots are also recorded when they are returned, checked against the record, and in many cases, voter signatures are on file to ensure that the voter assigned to the ballot is the one who voted. was.

And yet, mail-in ballots are one of the most frequent targets of misinformation voting, even though fraud is rare.

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Different states have different ballot verification protocols. All states require a voter’s signature, while some states take extra precautions, such as having bipartisan parties compare that signature to a signature on file, requiring the signature to be notarized, or having someone as a witness. is required to be signed.

In Arkansas, you must send proof of your voter registration or a copy of your ID with the ballot. In states such as Georgia, Minnesota and Ohio, you must submit your driver’s license number or state ID number, which will be matched to voter registration records before your vote can be counted.

In states where voters are required to submit applications to receive an absentee ballot, the application typically includes several identifying pieces of information to ensure that you are who you say you are. . In some cases, this includes a copy of your photo ID.

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In nearly every state, mail-in ballots can be tracked online through a unique barcode on the envelope, allowing voters to trace the route of their ballot until it is counted. Ballot security features and ballot sorting in election offices help prevent any counterfeiting, although election officials say counterfeit ballots have not been a problem in US elections. The Georgia investigation into allegations of counterfeit ballots in the 2020 election found no evidence to support such claims.

Secure voting boxes are kept in public places and emptied only by trained electoral staff to prevent anyone from tampering with the vote.

Like other forms of voter fraud, harsh penalties for mail-in ballot fraud also serve as a deterrent. Depending on the circumstances, allegations of voter fraud can result in fines, jail time, or both.

Despite widespread claims of mail-in and absentee ballot fraud, the reality is that it is extremely rare. In 2017, the Brennan Center for Justice ranked the risk of voter fraud between 0.00004% and 0.0009%, based on a study of past elections.

Meanwhile, a May 2022 Associated Press survey of states allowing the use of secure drop boxes in the 2020 presidential election did not include safe drop boxes of fraud, vandalism, or theft that could affect the results.

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