Over the last few days, Slate has received reports that some Coloradans who mailed in their ballot were panicked upon being informed online that their votes were rejected. The state does a terrible job explaining why some votes are rejected and how the problem can be remedied. But if you’re a Coloradan facing this issue, rest assured: You will soon have an opportunity to ensure that your vote is counted.
The difficulty here involves signatures. In Colorado, all mail-in ballots must include a signature affirming the voter’s identity. This signature is typically run through a “signature verification device” that compares it with the signature from the voter’s registration form. If the device notices up a discrepancy, two election judges of different political affiliations compare the signatures. If both agree that the signatures don’t match, the county sends the voter a letter explaining the discrepancy and a form allowing him or her to confirm identity by including a copy of valid ID. So long as the county receives this form within eight days after Election Day, the ballot will be counted. Voters can also trek down to the county office to prove their identification in person.
Unfortunately, many poll workers appear unaware of this process. One Coloradan told Slate that poll workers told someone that his vote would not count because his signature was rejected. This information is simply false as are burgeoning conspiracy theories that the state is rejecting the signatures of voters who supported Donald Trump. But it is a sad reality that Colorado’s strange system has the potential to disenfranchise voters whose signatures do not remain perfectly consistent. If you’re a Coloradan who mailed in your ballot, just be sure to check your mail over the next week. Your vote could quite literally depend on it.