Signing Your Ballot Envelope When You Vote: What People with Disabilities Need to Know

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Voting in the 2020 Presidential General Election has officially begun. Ballots started arriving in homes throughout California last week. Many voters will be voting from home for the first time in the election. In order to make sure that our votes are counted it is especially important that we all know the rules. Voters with disabilities must pay special attention to the rule about signing our ballot return envelope.

All voters who will vote by mail or return our ballots in local voting drop boxes must sign the envelope that we are returning our ballots in. This is so that our county elections officials can compare our signatures with the ones they have on file associated with our voter registration and state ID cards. Our officials are making these comparisons to make sure that no one is committing voter fraud.

Many people with disabilities may not be able to sign our names, or our signatures may have changed since we registered to vote. If you have an official stamp that you use in place of a signature, or if you make a mark like and X in place of a signature on official documents you can use those to sign your ballot envelope. This flyer from Disability Rights California explains how.

For those of us who use a traditional signature it is important that we try to make them look as much like the signature on our state ID card or driver’s license as possible. Elections officials do not require an exact match, but the signatures must look fairly similar.

If you are concerned that your signature has changed since you registered to vote or got your state ID card contact your county elections office now to request a voter registration card so that you can update your signature on file.

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