The North Carolina Board of Elections, in a 3-2 party-line vote, turned down a GOP request for signature verification on absentee ballots.
Republicans wanted local elections officials to be able to compare voters’ signatures on their registration cards against signatures on requests for absentee ballots and on the returned ballots.
Instead, the board’s Democratic majority decided county elections officials don’t have the legal authority to verify signatures to determine if voters should receive mail-in ballots and if votes should be counted.
The state elections board received more than 7,000 comments on the Republican proposal. Most urged the board to deny the request, with some calling it an attempt at voter suppression. Others said it would harm older or disabled voters and those whose signatures have changed due to illness or age.
According to Progress NC Action, studies of signature-matching in other states have found that some counties set aside significantly larger proportions of return ballots than other counties. In addition, young voters and voters of color were more likely to have their absentee ballots rejected and were less likely to have issues addressed before vote counting deadlines.