State elections officials discourage signature matching

State says no signature match.
State says no signature match.(Deric Rush)
Published: Oct. 5, 2022 at 7:26 PM EDT
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NEW BERN, N.C. (WITN) - With Election Day approaching, the State Board of Elections says it has seen an increased number of absentee ballots, and is working to make sure regulations on these ballots are fair across all counties.

The NCSBE says 16,736 absentee ballots have been cast across the state – a number the state elections director says is a “considerable increase” from the 2,590 absentee votes in the 2018 elections.

To make the absentee ballot process fair across the state, the NCSBE directed county election officials on Monday not to engage in signature matching when reviewing absentee ballot envelopes this fall.

A judge rejected the GOP appeal of a state board ruling prohibiting the practice.

NCSBE Elections Director Karen Brinson Bell says signature matching is not part of state-regulated law for reviewing absentee ballots, but says the SBE received complaints saying certain counties were using signature matching software when reviewing ballots, which was not a requirement by law.

Bell elaborated on what will be required of absentee voters.

“What we need voters to do is to follow the instructions on the absentee by mail materials,” Bell says.

Brinson says Onslow County has about 1,300 absentee ballots requested with over 200 returned. Craven County has 152 returned ballots returned, and Pitt County has 164.

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