NC voters who sent absentee ballots without witness signature must start over

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ASHEVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – According to N.C. Election Officials, as of Tuesday over 1.8 million absentee ballots have been casted by voters in North Carolina, but election officials say those who are voting by mail should double check to make sure all requirements are met.

North Carolina issued new guidance earlier this week to allow counties to deal with more than 10,000 absentee ballots with various deficiencies that have been in limbo due to court battles over the witness requirement for voting by mail.

Buncombe County officials said that if there are any deficiencies with mail in ballots voters will be notified and they could complete a new ballot by election day.

A federal judge ruled that North Carolina must ensure that voters have a witness signature on mail in ballots and officials must also give voters due process to fix any minor problems that arise.

“Any of those with deficient envelopes will get contacted by letter. Every single one. It’s important that everyone gets their ballot so we’re going to make sure that that happens.”Corinne Duncan, Buncombe County Elections director, said.

Depending on the error, voters will have to either submit a cure affidavit or must cast a new ballot entirely. Voters have the option to forfeit re-submitting and cast their vote in-person at an early polling precinct or in-person on Election Day.

If the voter signature is missing, or the witness did not print their name or provide an address, a cure letter can be submitted.

If the ballot is missing a signature completely, or the envelope was damaged, they’ll need to cast a new ballot entirely.

Election officials will notify voters by phone, mail, or email about any errors on their ballots. In some counties they’ve already started mailing out letters containing cure affidavits or new absentee ballots that must be corrected by election day.

“We will also try to reach out to you by email and by phone if you gave that to us as well so we’re making any effort that we can to contact anyone with these deficiencies” Duncan said.

Buncombe County said they were instructed by state election leaders to hold on to approx. 800 deficient ballots until after the court ruling was settled.

“Right now we’ve had 22,559 ballots that have been returned to the office, 800 is a small portion of that,” Duncan said.

In order for the mail in ballot to count, it must be postmarked by election day Nov. 3rd, and arrive at your local election office by Nov. 12th.

South Carolina law is firm that witness signatures are required, and your vote will not be counted without it.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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