Nearly 7,000 voters would have had their early ballots rejected over problems with their signatures if Maricopa County hadn’t initiated a new policy of attempting to “cure” those ballots after Election Day. According to data provided to the Arizona Mirror by the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office, 7,240 early ballots had signatures on their envelopes that required further review after Election Day. The majority of those ballots were dropped off at polling places on Election Day. County election officials began contacting voters who dropped off early ballots on Election Day and whose signatures needed further review on Nov. 8, two days after the election. The outreach effort allowed the county to verify the signatures on 6,933 of the ballots, which was nearly 96 percent of the ballots that election officials reviewed for potentially mismatched signatures.
Only 307 of those ballots were ultimately rejected due to bad signatures, according to the Recorder’s Office. In previous elections, those lawfully cast ballots would have been rejected outright.
Unlike in-person voting, voters who cast early ballots don’t show identification when they vote. Instead, they sign the envelope that they use to send their early ballots to election officials. To verify the voters’ identities, election officials compare the signatures on the envelopes with the signatures that are on file for those voters.