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Signature challenges

Signature challenges

Signature Challenges

When a voter does not sign the back of the ballot return envelope or when the signature on the return envelope does not match the signature(s) in their voter registration record, their signature may be challenged. Any voter with a signature challenge can fix the issue and have their ballot counted by filling out and returning a form to King County Elections before the day the election results are certified.

The fastest way to fix your signature challenge is to complete and return the Signature Resolution Form online. Login with your name and date of birth and follow the instructions. You can sign using your mouse, or with your finger on your device.

King County Elections also mails a letter and Signature Resolution Form for every signature challenge in every election. We will also send the Resolution Form via email if you’ve provided your email address. You can print the form here.

You can return the Signature Resolution Form via mail or email. The form must be received – not postmarked – before the day election results are certified.

We recommend signing up for ballot alerts. You will receive a text or email notification when your ballot has been accepted, or if further action is needed.

You can sign up for ballot alerts and check the status of your ballot using the My Voter Information tool.
For information on specifically why your signature was challenged, contact King County Elections.

Most signature issues occur when:
  • the signature on your ballot return envelope does not match the signature(s) in your voter registration record, or
  • when you forget to sign the ballot return envelope.
  • Your ballot will be counted if you fix any issue with your signature before the day election results are certified. You can do this by returning a Signature Resolution Form King County Elections before the day the election results are certified. Certification Day is 1-3 weeks after Election Day, depending on the type of election. If you do not fix the signature issue in time, your ballot will not be counted for that election.
    Yes, we contact all voters with a signature challenge to ensure they know about the issue and can take action to have their ballot counted.

    The fastest way to be alerted of an issue with your signature is through ballot alerts. Sign up for text or email ballot alerts using the My Voter Information tool.

    All voters with a signature challenge will be mailed a letter explaining the issue and Signature Resolution Form within one business day. We include a postage-paid return envelope voters can use to return the form if they choose to do so via mail. The form can also be returned by email or voters can complete and submit the form online.
    If we have an email address or phone number on file, we will also reach out by email and via phone. Three days before the deadline, we will reach out to those who have not returned their Signature Resolution Form with an additional phone call and email to remind them of the upcoming deadline.

    We encourage voters to act right away when alerted of a signature challenge to make sure their ballot can be counted.

    The signatures in your voter registration record may be old or outdated. Signatures can naturally change over time, so if the only signature in your voter registration record is several years old it may no longer look like your current signature.

    You can add a new signature to your voter registration record by filling out a voter registration form or signature update form. Both forms can be emailed to or returned to us by mail. If you email, please be sure to take a clear photo or scan of the form to ensure we can clearly see your signature.

    If you have a Washington State driver’s license or Washington State ID card, you can also update your registration online , which will add the signature from your driver’s license or state ID card to your voter registration record.

    Trained King County Elections staff compare the signature on the back of every ballot return envelope to the signature(s) on that voter’s registration record. This review process is required by Washington State law to make sure that the intended voter voted their ballot. Any ballot return envelope with a signature that does not match is flagged and reviewed by a second staff member. If both staff members agree the signature is not a match, the ballot is challenged and set aside until the voter returns a Signature Resolution Form.

    The best way to avoid a similar issue in the future is to complete the Signature Resolution Form if you have a signature challenge. You can also update the signature on your voter registration at any time using a signature update form or a voter registration form.

    Under Washington State law, certain information is considered public information, including whether a voter has had a signature challenge. Candidates and other organizations can request this information to see which voters in King County have outstanding signature issues. Some of these organizations then use this information to try to help voters fix their signature issues so their ballots can be counted. We do not disclose phone numbers or email addresses for voters to campaigns or organizations.

    If you are contacted by an organization seeking to assist you in updating your signature, and you are not comfortable with them returning your signature challenge form for you, you can always return your form directly to King County Elections or complete the form online.

    We highly recommend encouraging voters to complete the form online on a tablet or other mobile device, rather than printing forms for distribution. This ensures that their form is submitted right away and reduces the risk of using an incorrect form or missing the deadline.

    Voters simply log in using their name and date of birth and follow the instructions. If they are using a tablet or their phone, they can even sign on the screen with their finger.

    You can also download a Signature Resolution Form if the voter would prefer the paper form.

    If you have any more questions, please contact King County Elections.

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