Here’s what happens if a signature on a ballot doesn’t add up to the voter

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TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – With eight days left until Election Day, the Shawnee County Election Office has been busy checking over hundreds of thousands of advanced ballots, including verifying the voter’s signature.

Topeka resident Anita Talley decided to vote in advance on Monday.

“I wanted to get down here today because the weather’s bad and I was hoping it wouldn’t be such long lines,” Talley said. “We’re United States citizens and we want to vote.”

Talley joined hundreds of thousands of Shawnee County residents who have voted in advance as of Monday, according to Shawnee County Election Commissioner Andrew Howell.

Every mail-in ballot is sent through a verification process to ensure it is the voter who sent it. The process includes comparing the signature on the envelope of the ballot to the signature on the voter’s registration form or mail-in ballot application.

“We have at least two, and if they have been voting for a while we have a number of other signatures on file,” Howell said. “We always try to use the most recent to compare.”

However, if there is still a question mark after that, they will reach out to the voter to ensure they were the one who sent it, and also have them send a signature card to compare it even further.

If someone votes in-person and their signature does not add up to what’s on their driver’s license, they will be given a provision ballot right away to mail it in so the staff can look further into it.

The staff verifying the signatures are well-prepared, according to Howell.

“We’ve done a lot of training, we have full-time staff who have been trained, been through a number of training classes,” Howell said. “Then, we do have some temporary staff that we do some training as well.”

Their training is to ensure that you can successfully, and accurately, exercise your right to vote, just as Talley did.

“They should go the extra mile. We want to make sure that votes count,” Talley said.

Ballots being pulled due to inaccurate signatures is rare, according to Howell. He encouraged anyone who has concerns about their mail-in ballot to reach out to the election office at 785-251-5900.

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