Pro-Voting Group Says California Rejects Thousands of Lawful Mail-in Ballots Every Election

Close-up of 2022 California Primary Election Ballot materials on a wood desk. (Adobe Stock)

Under California law, a voter’s signature on their mail-in ballot envelope must match the voter’s registration record. 

The California Alliance for Retired Americans (CARA) and two voters filed a lawsuit against California Secretary of State Shirley Weber (D) on Wednesday challenging that signature matching requirement.

The plaintiffs argue the process is “inconsistent and unreliable” and causes thousands of lawful mail-in ballots to be discarded every election.

CARA estimates around 100,000 voters did not have their ballots counted during the 2020 and 2022 elections in California because of perceived signature mismatches.

The organization argues this violates the state’s constitution, which protects the right of every lawful voter to have their ballot counted. They also claim Weber is illegally spending tax dollars on the signature matching process in a way that violates California’s constitution.

CARA asks the court to rule that the state’s signature matching requirement is unconstitutional and block Weber and other state election officials from enforcing it. 

This isn’t the first legal challenge to this law. In August 2017, the ACLU sued the state for rejecting tens of thousands of voters’ ballots over signature concerns without notifying them. In March 2018, the court sided with the ACLU, requiring election officials to reach out to voters and give them a chance to verify the signatures.

Read the complaint here. 

Learn more about the case here.