Thousands of North Carolina Votes May Be Disqualified Due to Lack of Witness Signatures

Disability advocates and other voting rights groups in North Carolina lost a legal fight to throw out the requirement of witness statements on absentee ballots. The requirement is emerging as the top cause of rejected ballots in the state.

So far…

  • 1,700 of the 200,000 total ballots returned have been rejected.
  • Black voters make up 43% of ballots rejected for this reason, yet they have cast only 16% of the votes.
  • Black voters ballots are rejected at four times the rate as white voters according to analysis by FiveThirtyEight.
  • NC has the most Black voters of tossup states expected to decide the election and those voters reliably vote for Democrats.
  • Ballot curing the process of fixing errors on absentee ballots has been streamlined as part of the legal settlement in NC.
  • Witness signatures were struck down in neighboring South Carolina when a judge ruled the requirement would “increase the risk of contracting COVID-19.”
  • 12 states have the witness requirement, but none of the 5 states that conduct all elections by mail do, and they see no fraud from this.

Absentee ballot fraud did occur in a 2018 congressional race in North Carolina, but the forged ballots were in service of the Republican candidate.

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