Gephardt: What is a cured ballot and how does it impact Utah voters?

(Matt Gephardt, KSL TV)

Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

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SALT LAKE CITY — During the 2016 general election, more than 318,000 mail-in ballots were rejected according to an analysis by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission. In many of those cases, it was because the signature was missing or didn't match the signature election officials had on record for the voter.

Fast forward to 2020, and KSL viewers said they've gotten notice that their votes have been rejected. So, how can those votes be counted now that we're past the Election Day deadline?

All five key battleground states in this election allow voters to fix – or "cure" – their mailed-in ballots. While it's too late to vote, it's not too late to verify votes that have already been mailed in.

Election officials in Utah said since they've been doing the mail-in vote thing for a few years now, they have worked out most of the bugs.

"We've been doing this since 2016," said Lannie Chapman, chief deputy clerk for the Salt Lake County Clerk's Office. "And, it's a well-oiled machine."

When a vote-sorting machine finds a discrepancy in your signature you have the opportunity to cure your ballot.
When a vote-sorting machine finds a discrepancy in your signature you have the opportunity to cure your ballot. (Photo: Matt Gephardt, KSL TV)

Chapman explained one of the things that lawmakers had to work out was what to do if the signature on a person's mail-in ballot did not match their official signature on file with the state.

In Utah, they decided to let voters "cure" their ballot.

"We will send you a cure letter. That cure letter will say, 'Hey, your signature does not match. You have a chance to cure this to still be able to have your voice counted to have your ballot counted,'" she said.

There is a tight window.

In Utah, election officials must notify voters if their ballot was rejected within seven days. Then, voters must sign a new affidavit statement within two weeks of Election Day.

Because signature verification is so important, Chapman said they've programmed their ARS ballot-sorting machine to be picky and to kick out ballots with signatures even if they are only a bit off.

"If the signature does not look like an identical match, it does reject it," Chapman explained.

Similar systems are used throughout the country, and Chapman said the system works well. We asked her if it was foolproof.

"With enough time and enough resources, anything can be botched," she answered. "However, that is not the case here."

The KSL Investigators have heard from people who have been getting calls from candidates and tight races informing them that their vote was not counted.

We confirmed that the list of people whose ballots were rejected is public record.

If you're concerned about whether your vote was counted, you can go to or call your county clerk.

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Matt Gephardt
Sloan Schrage


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