Josephson asks secretary of state to stop rejecting absentee ballots based on signatures

A lawyer for the state Democratic Party wants county clerks to stop rejecting applications for mail-in ballots solely on the basis of signature mismatches.

Instead, Democratic State Committee General Counsel Paul Josephson thinks county clerks should send those applicants provisional ballots — a position that troubles Republican State Chairman Jay Webber.

“To date more than 2,300 persons have been denied VBM ballots based on signature comparison alone,” wrote Josephson in a letter dated yesterday to Secretary of State Nina Mitchell Wells. “Allowing these people to cast provisional ballots most efficiently provides a fail safe mechanism whereby their electoral choices can be timely submitted and evaluated.”

Josephson said that many more Democratic and unaffiliated voters’ ballots had been rejected based on their signatures than those of Republicans’. He also said that the disparity in rejection rates between counties indicates that all clerks are not applying a uniform standard.

“It is our position that unless and until a uniform process for signature comparison is implemented by all clerks, and in view of the disparate rejection rate to date, no VBM application should be rejected solely on the basis of a signature comparison by county clerk staff, who are over-worked and are likely not trained in handwriting analysis.”

County clerks do attempt to reach voters whose mail-in ballot applications have been rejected by mail or phone.

Josephson’s letter brought about suspicion from Republican State Chairman Jay Webber and a reporter for the conservative National Review.

“This is highly unusual,” said Webber. “The Democrats should do what we do every year, which is let the county clerks do their jobs. If there’s something suspicious or there’s something off with these ballots, there’s a process for dealing with them. And the Democrats are asking them to bypass that and let them vote anyway.”

“To me it’s an indication that they’re losing and need any vote they get to pull it out.”

Josephson could not immediately be reached for comment.

Josephson asks secretary of state to stop rejecting absentee ballots based on signatures