Elections in Georgia, Arizona and Nevada may come down to a few thousand ballots.
As election managers and county boards of registrars scan and count absentee ballots, some voters are being contacted and asked to “cure” their ballots.
But what is “ballot curing”?
The process, also called ballot remediation, is intended to reconcile errors on legally cast ballots.
“It’s fixing problems that may have happened with a person’s ballot. It often happens with people who vote absentee,” said Aimee Castenell, southeast regional communications director for the Working Families Party in Georgia. The Working Families Party endorsed Joe Biden for president.
To vote absentee in Georgia, voters sign the absentee ballot as well as the envelope in which the ballot is secured. In some cases, voters forget to sign the envelope. Georgia is also a state with an exact match law, meaning that ballot signatures must be an exact match for a signature on a voter registration form.
The Georgia Secretary of State’s website says:
“If your ballot was rejected, your county elections office will contact you with a document to ‘cure’ or correct your ballot envelope. Contact your county registrar to get more information and find out what your options are. One of the most common reasons an absentee ballot is rejected is because it has not been properly signed. Be sure to carefully read and follow all instructions included in your absentee ballot.”
According to Georgia state law, the county board of registrars must immediately inform voters of needed corrections. In Georgia, voters then have three days to cure their ballots. The deadline is Friday, Nov. 6, at 5 p.m. ET.
In Nevada, where President Donald Trump and Vice President Joe Biden are also in a tight race at the time of publication, voters have until the seventh day following the election. In Arizona, voters have five days.
Castenell says corrections may involve adding a missing signature or providing photo identification to verify your identity.
While the Trump campaign has raised concerns of fraud or irregularities, the curing process is a step in ensuring election integrity.
“You can’t change a vote that’s already been submitted, nor can you submit a ballot that’s not already been submitted,” Castenell says. “This is just ensuring that every vote legally cast and submitted is counted.”
“This election is very close. We’re out here counting every single ballot because it’s down to the wire. You can’t know the results until you count all the ballots.”
Georgia voters concerned about the status of their absentee ballot can confirm that it has been counted via the Secretary of State’s website.
Castenell said volunteers are actively contacting absentee voters, encouraging them to check the status of their ballots.
“Every vote is significant because this an historic moment. This could be the first time in 28 years that a Democrat has won Georgia,” she added.
“This is not just something that happens by chance. It’s a real testament to the people who have been organizing in Georgia for years. Stacey Abrams went around the state in 2018 and spoke to voters who had never had their doors knocked on before.”