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Elections see hundreds uncounted due to issues with voter signatures

SEATTLE - King County Elections officials say each year, many voters’ ballots are not counted because of a simple mistake.

During the 2017 election, King County Election Officials say about 1800 voters’ ballots were not counted due to issues with their signature. This is called a challenged ballot.

County officials say during elections, they make sure that each vote is valid by checking the signature elections officials have on file for the voter - usually your driver’s license signature - with the one signed on the ballot.

County employees are trained by the Washington State Patrol on what to look for when examining the signatures.

Sometimes, the signatures do not match.

When this happens, officials need to confirm that your ballot is really from you.

“What I want is for voters’ ballots to be counted,” said Julie Wise, the King County director of elections.

Wise says in 2017, about 3,700 ballots were challenged. Half of those voters confirmed their vote with the county, but the other half go uncounted.

Wise says county officials will mail voters a document to certify their ballot is authentic. If the county has your email information or phone number, they will also reach out to you with those methods.

Wise says all the voter needs to do is sign a document certifying their signature and vote are authentic, but hundreds of people choose not to.

“We see elections all the time where there is only 30 votes that are the difference between candidates, so every vote matters,” said Wise.

Officials say this is an issue that affects counties across the state.

Records show in Pierce County, about 1,300 ballots were not counted because of challenges.