A new report issued today by the California Voter Foundation (CVF) finds that the top three reasons why some ballots go uncounted in three counties studied are that they are received too late, lack the voter’s signature, or the signature on the ballot envelope does not sufficiently compare to the one on file. “Casting a vote-by-mail ballot has become a popular option for California voters,” said Kim Alexander, CVF president and founder and the primary author of the new report, Improving California’s Vote-by-Mail Process: A Three-County Study. “But with its rise in popularity has come an increase in the number of vote-by-mail ballots cast that go uncounted.” Read the Report
The three counties profiled – Sacramento, Orange and Santa Cruz – were selected to provide a comparison between counties serving small, medium and large voting populations. CVF studied four statewide elections across the three counties and found that:
• 99.2 percent of vote-by-mail ballots cast were counted and 0.8 percent were not counted;
• Late-arriving ballots comprise 61 percent of the uncounted ballots;
• Ballots lacking a signature make up 20 percent of the uncounted ballots; and
• Ballots sent in envelopes with a signature that did not adequately compare to the one on file comprise 18 percent of the uncounted ballots.
These three reasons – late, no signature, and bad signature – account for 99 percent of the uncounted ballots in CVF’s three-county, four-election study. Overall, California’s mail ballot rejection rate is among the highest of all the states according to the Pew Center on the States’ Election Performance Index.