California Elections Code

Sec. § 3019


(a)

Upon receipt of a vote by mail ballot, the elections official shall compare the signature on the identification envelope with either of the following to determine if the signatures compare:

(1)

The signature appearing on the voter’s affidavit of registration or any previous affidavit of registration of the voter.

(2)

The signature appearing on a form issued by an elections official that contains the voter’s signature and that is part of the voter’s registration record.

(b)

In comparing signatures pursuant to subdivision (a), the elections official may use facsimiles of voters’ signatures, provided that the method of preparing and displaying the facsimiles complies with the law.

(c)

(1) If upon conducting the comparison of signatures pursuant to subdivision (a) the elections official determines that the signatures compare, he or she shall deposit the ballot, still in the identification envelope, in a ballot container in his or her office.

(2)

If upon conducting the comparison of signatures pursuant to subdivision (a) the elections official determines that the signatures do not compare, the identification envelope shall not be opened and the ballot shall not be counted. The cause of the rejection shall be written on the face of the identification envelope.

(d)

The variation of a signature caused by the substitution of initials for the first or middle name, or both, shall not be grounds for the elections official to determine that the signatures do not compare.

(e)

In comparing signatures pursuant to this section, an elections official may use signature verification technology. If signature verification technology determines the signatures do not compare, the elections official shall not reject the ballot unless he or she visually examines the signatures and verifies that the signatures do not compare.

(f)

(1)(A)Notwithstanding any other law, if an elections official determines that a voter has failed to sign the identification envelope, the elections official shall not reject the vote by mail ballot if the voter does any of the following:

(i)

Signs the identification envelope at the office of the elections official during regular business hours before 5 p.m. on the eighth day after the election.

(ii)

Before 5 p.m. on the eighth day after the election, completes and submits an unsigned ballot statement in substantially the following form:
“UNSIGNED BALLOT STATEMENT
I,, am a registered voter of __________ County,
State of California. I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I requested and returned a vote by mail ballot and that I have not and will not vote more than one ballot in this election. I understand that if I commit or attempt any fraud in connection with voting, or if I aid or abet fraud or attempt to aid or abet fraud in connection with voting, I may be convicted of a felony punishable by imprisonment for 16 months or two or three years. I understand that my failure to sign this statement means that my vote by mail ballot will be invalidated.
Voter’s Signature
Address”
(iii)Before the close of the polls on election day, completes and submits an unsigned ballot statement, in the form described in clause (ii), to a polling place within the county or a ballot dropoff box.

(B)

If timely submitted, the elections official shall accept any completed unsigned ballot statement. Upon receipt of the unsigned ballot statement, the elections official shall compare the voter’s signature on the statement in the manner provided by this section.

(i)

If the elections official determines that the signatures compare, he or she shall attach the unsigned ballot statement to the identification envelope and deposit the ballot, still in the identification envelope, in a ballot container in his or her office.

(ii)

If the elections official determines that the signatures do not compare, the identification envelope shall not be opened and the ballot shall not be counted.

(C)

An elections official may use methods other than those described in subparagraph (A) to obtain a voter’s signature on an unsigned identification envelope.

(2)

Instructions shall accompany the unsigned ballot statement in substantially the following form:
“READ THESE INSTRUCTIONS CAREFULLY BEFORE COMPLETING THE STATEMENT. FAILURE TO FOLLOW THESE INSTRUCTIONS MAY CAUSE YOUR BALLOT NOT TO COUNT.
1. In order to ensure that your vote by mail ballot will be counted, your statement should be completed and returned as soon as possible so that it can reach the elections official of the county in which your precinct is located no later than 5 p.m. on the eighth day after the election.
2. You must sign your name on the line above (Voter’s Signature).
3.Place the statement into a mailing envelope addressed to your local elections official. Mail, deliver, or have delivered the completed statement to the elections official. Be sure there is sufficient postage if mailed and that the address of the elections official is correct.
4. Alternatively, you may submit your completed statement by facsimile transmission to your local elections official, or submit your completed statement to a polling place within the county or a ballot dropoff box before the close of the polls on election day.

(3)

An elections official shall include the unsigned ballot statement and instructions described in this subdivision on his or her Internet Web site, and shall provide the elections official’s mailing address and facsimile transmission number on the Internet Web page containing the statement and instructions.

(g)

A ballot shall not be removed from its identification envelope until the time for processing ballots. A ballot shall not be rejected for cause after the identification envelope has been opened.
Source

Last accessed
Jun. 6, 2016