Thousands of North Carolinians have already locked in their ballots for this year’s general election, courtesy of the state’s postal voting period that began Sept. 5. But for some who’ve tried, compliance with voting law has been an issue. By early October, elections officials had marked more than 80 absentee-by-mail ballots as invalid. In most cases, they simply lacked the signatures of two witnesses – a change due to the voting law enacted by the legislature last year. Previously an absentee voter only needed one witness signature. Now if the voter doesn’t have two people witness as the ballot and accompanying envelope are filled out, he or she must have the ballot notarized. Without those signatures, the ballots go to the dead pile.
But that doesn’t necessarily mean those voters have blown their shot at the democratic process, said state elections spokesman Josh Lawson.
“Counties are not under statutory obligation to contact the voter if they return an incomplete ballot – but they do,” Lawson said.
Most of the mail-in ballot requests, and the completed ballots themselves, will be quickly honored, daily state voting data indicate. By the end of September, the state had certified more than 3,100 completed ballots out of more than 3,400 received.