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Pima County voter has ballot signature questioned then verified

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TUCSON (KVOA) - David Rankin thought he voted with no problems in this presidential election when he dropped his early ballot off at an early voting site on Wednesday. 

That is until he got a text from the Pima County Recorder's Office saying his signature did not match up with what election officials had on file. 

“They had an issue with the ‘R’ on my signature,” Rankin said. “In the back of my mind, I’m thinking this is just a ballot signature this is not a murder investigation, why is this such an issue.” 

According to the Pima County Recorder’s Office, this is an issue for less than two percent of voters throughout the county.

This year that could be thousands of voters who need to have their ballots cured.

The recorder’s office has every voter’s signature on file.

If a signature team member questions the validity of a signature that person will hand that ballot to a supervisor.

If the supervisor agrees, that ballot like Rankin’s goes to the problem ballot team. That team will reach out to those voters with signatures that don’t match.

“A signature is fairly arbitrary thing to be denying somebody’s vote,” Rankin said. “We don’t validate people’s photo ID based on their hairstyle. A signature can change with your mood.” 

However, election officials must make sure it’s actually you who voted your ballot. 

They will call, text and even in some cases write a letter to those voters whose signature doesn’t match. 

This doesn’t mean your vote won’t count.

“She basically asked me some security questions and said, ‘hey did you sign this ballot’, and then they accepted it,” Rankin said. “That part was fairly painless. I’m just thinking that it’s very difficult to get people to vote in the first place and this feels like just another roadblock.”

Rankin wants his experience to be a lesson for others. 

“It was an issue that wasn’t even on my radar to find out my ballot had been rejected because of a forensic mismatch in one letter was a little shocking to me,” he said.

The Pima County Recorder’s Office tells News 4 Tucson’s Eric Fink, after the election, these voters will get an updated registration form to fill out with a new signature.  The recorder’s office will use that new signature for matching purposes in future elections.

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Eric Fink

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