So you’ve carefully read your Voters’ Pamphlet, discussed the issues with your friends and family, and are ready to fill out your ballot.
Ballots have now been mailed, and your main focus, rightfully, may be what choice to make on each race. But there is another important step that requires your diligence: Your signature.
Your signature is important to Oregon’s voting process in two ways: For elections officials to verify you are who you say you are and for you to attest that the ballot you are casting is legal.
First, let’s talk about ballot security.
The signature you write on your ballot will be matched with the signature on your registration card or on file with the DMV to verify you are who you say you are. The county employees who do this are trained by forensics experts. If the signatures don’t match, the ballot is set aside, and the voter is contacted about the issue. The voter will have a chance to prove that the signature is indeed theirs, but if they don’t respond to the letter, the ballot will not be counted.
There are a few things you can do to ensure your ballot is processed smoothly.
- If your signature has changed, update your voter registration card and mail it to your local elections office.
- Sign your ballot envelope on a hard surface.
- Sign your ballot the same way your voter registration was signed. If you registered online, your signature should match the one on your Oregon driver license, permit, or ID card.
- Don’t let anyone sign your ballot for you, and don’t sign anyone else’s ballot, even if you have guardianship or power of attorney. Signing another person’s ballot envelope is a Class C felony.
- If you have a disability that keeps you from producing an identical signature each time, you can request special accommodations for a signature stamp or mark. Just call your county elections office to request a signature attestation packet.
Second, your signature is also used as your affirmation that your ballot is legal.
Your signature affirms that:
- You are a U.S. citizen
- You are the person to whom this ballot was issued
- You are legally qualified to vote this ballot
- This is the only ballot you have voted this election
Ensuring that your signature matches your registration signature will go a long way in making sure your ballot will be counted without delay. Please make sure that this crucial step in verifying your ballot is carefully done.