It's something no voter wants to hear! If after casting your vote, either by mail or in person, you learn that your ballot was rejected: don't panic; there are a few ways to fix the issue and make sure your vote is counted. First off, to check the status of your ballot, navigate to your county's Supervisor of Elections webpage. Through the county site, you'll be able to see the date your ballot was received at your local election office, as well as if it was accepted or rejected. If you find that your ballot was indeed rejected, it could be due to a mismatched signature, unsealed envelope, or a wide array of situations, most of the time pertaining to mail-in voting. However, the important thing is that most of the time, there is an easy solution to making sure your voice is heard in the upcoming election.
What do I do if my ballot was rejected?
If your ballot was rejected, some states allow voters to fix their mistakes in time for their ballot to be counted. In these states, voters are notified of the problem and provided with a process and time frame to verify their ballot. However, in states that do not have these processes, rejected ballots are simply not counted.
The 18 states that require voters to be notified of discrepancies in their ballot, and to be given an opportunity to correct it, are: Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, Utah, and Washington. These states allow voters to "cure" their rejected ballots in different manners, depending on each state's particular laws.
In these states, election officials may contact you by mail, email, or phone to let you know that your ballot was rejected and tell you how to fix it. You may be instructed to sign an affidavit to confirm your ballot is yours, to present identification, vote on a replacement ballot, or simply correct your signature. The time frame for fixing your ballot can vary by state: some count "cured" ballots until Election Day, but other states accept them until a few days after election night as long as the ballot was received by the state's deadline.
It is important to note that other states may also notify voters of rejected ballots, although they are not required to, and voters in those states may automatically receive a new ballot by their local election official.
All in all, if your ballot is rejected for any reason, being informed about your rights in fixing it is crucial to the voting process. And most importantly, don't panic, because there is often an easy solution.