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Signature Challenges

Signature challenges occur when a voter does not sign the back of the ballot return envelope or when the signature on the return envelope does not match the signature(s) in their voter registration record. Any voter with a signature challenge can fix the issue and have their ballot counted by filling out and returning a form to King County Elections before the day the election results are certified.

Yes. All voters who have their signature challenged are sent a letter the next business day that explains the issue and includes a signature challenge form along with a postage-paid return envelope they can use to return the form. If the voter has provided an email address or phone number to King County Elections, they will also be sent emails and phone calls notifying them that there is an issue with their signature and asking them to contact King County Elections for more information. Any voter who has not fixed their signature issue 3 days before the deadline is sent a second reminder call and email.
Most signature issues occur when the signature on the ballot return envelope does not match the signature(s) in that voter’s voter registration record or when the voter simply forgets to sign the ballot return envelope.

For information on specifically why your signature was challenged, contact King County Elections.
If your signature has been challenged, you must fix the issue with your signature in order to have your ballot counted. You can do this by returning a signature challenge form to King County Elections before the day the election results are certified, which occurs 1-3 weeks after Election Day, depending on the type of election. If you do not fix the signature issue in time, your ballot will not be counted for that election.
You can fix your signature challenge by filling out and returning a signature challenge form to King County Elections. How you need to fill out and sign the form can vary depending on the specific reason your signature was challenged, so make sure to read and follow the instructions carefully.

King County Elections mails a signature challenge form to every voter with a signature challenge issue, and emails a signature challenge form to every voter that has provided an email address. In addition, if you have a signature challenge you can download and print a signature challenge form in the Ballot Tracker tab on our My Voter Information page.

You can always see whether or not your ballot has been counted by checking the Ballot Tracker tab on our My Voter Information page.

The signatures in your voter registration record may be old and no longer accurate. Signatures can naturally change over time, so if the only signature in your voter registration record is a few years old it may no longer reflect your current signature. You can add a new signature to your voter registration record by filling out a voter registration form . If you have a Washington State driver’s license or Washington State ID card, you can also update your registration online , which will add the signature from your driver’s license or state ID card to your voter registration record.

For every ballot that is returned during an election, King County Elections staff compare the signature on the back of the return envelope to the signature(s) in the voter registration record for that voter. This process is required by Washington State law in order to make sure that the voter the ballot was mailed to is the voter who filled out and returned the ballot. Any ballot return envelope with a signature that does not match is flagged and reviewed by a second staff member before being challenged and set aside until the voter returns a signature challenge form.

Under Washington State law, whether or not a voter has turned in their ballot and whether or not they have a signature issue is considered public information. Candidates and other organizations can request this information to see which voters in King County have outstanding signature issues. Some of these organizations then use this information to try to help voters fix their signature issues so their ballots can be counted.

Please note that King County Elections never provides anyone with information on how you voted, just whether or not your ballot has been returned. King County Elections also never provides anyone with information on your phone number or email address. If you are not comfortable with a campaign or any other organization returning your signature challenge form for you, you can always return your form directly to King County Elections.

If you have any more questions, please contact King County Elections.

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