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WTF - Get Out the Vote - Voter resources 2020 & Obstacles

Voter fraud is almost nonexistent at 0.001 percent of the vote each year and that has included states like mine that only vote by mail. If anyone tells you otherwise they are making it up to try to scare you.

Adding an Obama moment for a pep talk, I think we could all use it right now.


Here’s the story brought to light on Maddow tonight, after T mentioned that Philadelphia will be a hotbed of voter fraud. A state legislature with Republican led committee wants to control the vote and be able to determine how the election is being handled.

@mynta This is a prime example of setting up a Republican committee to oversee the results of the election.

HARRISBURG — One day after President Donald Trump fanned manufactured fears of election fraud in Pennsylvania, Republicans in the state legislature pushed forward an effort to create an “election integrity” committee that Democrats characterized as a “stealth attack” on voting.

The resolution would create a committee of five House lawmakers — three Republicans and two Democrats — to investigate and review the Nov. 3 election. The group would be empowered to subpoena “witnesses and documents” and initiate legal filings.

Democratic lawmakers, outnumbered in both chambers, called the resolution an overreach of power with a high potential for abuse. The committee could even attempt to “impound uncounted ballots,” House Minority Leader Frank Dermody (D., Allegheny) claimed — potentially delaying the certification of Pennsylvania’s election results.

To put it simply this is a dangerous threat to our democracy,” Dermody said in a statement.

Rep. Garth Everett (R., Lycoming), who introduced the resolution, dismissed those concerns, saying Wednesday the intent of the measure was to review the election and make recommendations for improvements.

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Ok…this is great. Momentum in a battlegound state.

Florida Democrats Post Wide Lead in Mail-In Ballot Requests | Political News | US News


Follow the facts…not the BS.

The Washington Post: Trump’s barrage of new claims of voter fraud have been disproved

Trump then talked about military ballots being thrown in a garbage can. This refers to an incident in (Trump-friendly) Luzerne County, Pa., where ballots were, in fact, discarded. After being briefed on the incident by Attorney General William P. Barr (county officials looped in the Justice Department out of an abundance of caution), Trump first revealed the incident in a radio interview.

But here, too, there’s no evidence of fraud, according to Pennsylvania’s secretary of state.

“The investigation is still going on, but from the initial reports we’ve been given, this was a bad error,” Kathy Boockvar said. “This was not intentional fraud. So training, training, training.”

“While the actions of this individual has cast a concern, the above statement shows that the system of checks and balances set forth in Pennsylvania elections works,” Luzerne County Manager C. David Pedri said in a statement last month. “An error was made, a public servant discovered it and reported it to law enforcement at the local, State and Federal level who took over to ensure the integrity of the system in place.”

After the military ballots, Trump described as a “terrible thing” ballots that “were on a tray, and they were thrown into a creek or a river.” This is an inaccurate description of an allegation that absentee ballots in Wisconsin were found in a ditch.

But that, too, is false. The mail that was discovered didn’t include any ballots.


Remarkable video…a warning about election security and how these guys are protecting us. Be watchhful…

Safeguarding Your Vote: A Joint Message on Election Security — FBI, heads of law enforcement, cyber heads give use fair warning that we should vote but we are watching all the incoming.


Good move to counter Gov Abbott’s outrageous limiting of ballot boxes.

Federal judge blocks Texas governor’s directive limiting ballot drop boxes to one per county - CNNPolitics


And it quickly turns around in Texas

Georgia voting lines today… :boom:


Just what the cost of this democracy is these day…a long wait.


That’s good for Minnesota voters in the age of slowed down Postal Service.

Updated at 2:47 p.m. ET

A federal judge in Minnesota on Sunday upheld a seven-day deadline extension for counting mail-in ballots after it was challenged by a pair of Republicans.

Minnesota extended its deadline for receiving mail-in ballots after rights groups raised concerns that the state’s previous deadline could disenfranchise voters as the state receives an unprecedented number of absentee ballots.

In past elections, absentee ballots would be counted only if received by 8 p.m. on Election Day. However, a state court agreement reached with Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon allowed ballots postmarked by Election Day to be counted if received within seven days.

But state Rep. Eric Lucero and James Carson — both certified Republican electors if Trump wins the state — challenged the extension arguing, among other things, that it violated federal law establishing Nov. 3 as the day of the 2020 election.

In her ruling late Sunday, Brasel rejected the plaintiffs’ claims for blocking the deadline extension. The judge also ruled that neither Lucero nor Carson had the standing to challenge the court agreement.

"[The plaintiffs] raise four theories of injury to support standing: vote dilution; uncertainty over how to vote; a risk to safe harbor compliance; and damage to their prospects for election as candidates for office. The Court considers each; none confers standing," Brasel wrote in analysis.

The two requested that U.S. District Judge Nancy Brasel block the agreement.


A lot of voters are asking these questions right now: How quickly will ballots be counted in the presidential election? Which states will have results — and possibly a winner — on election night?

In a year when absentee ballots are surging, a lot depends on when officials first start what’s called pre-processing of ballots. This ranges from verifying signatures, opening envelopes and flattening ballots to get them ready for tabulation.

Some states begin this work weeks in advance and others are only allowed to begin on Election Day. States that begin early may have a lot more results counted by election night.

Because of the surge in mail ballots that need to be counted, if the presidential race is close, the winner may not be known on election night. More than 80.5 million absentee ballots have already been requested or sent to voters nationwide.

Presidential battleground states

Currently, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania — two critical swing states — do not begin pre-processing ballots until Election Day, meaning they may take longer to have results.

Michigan, another important state, begins pre-processing just 10 hours before Election Day. Florida, by contrast, allows ballots to begin to be pre-processed 40 days before Election Day.

For much of the year, election officials around the country advocated for a policy change that could help speed up the count: allowing more widespread processing of submitted absentee ballots before Election Day.

Complicating things is that some states accept ballots after Election Day, provided they were postmarked by Election Day. Still, any head start in vote counting would help states report results sooner.

Two battleground states that give election officials a lot of time to process ballots before Election Day are Florida and Arizona, which means they are likely to have a lot of results on election night.

If Joseph R. Biden Jr. wins either state, it’s a good sign that he might win the presidency. Donald J. Trump won both in 2016 and all but certainly needs to hold them again. Neither state allows ballots received after Election Day to count, which theoretically would limit lengthy counting delays.

Michigan election officials have said that they anticipate having the bulk of their results tabulated by the Friday after Election Day. Wisconsin election officials are confident they will have most of their counting done by the day after Election Day, in part because of the state’s curing law, which allows voters a chance to fix some errors in advance.

While ballots in Wisconsin are not allowed to be opened or processed before 7 a.m. on Election Day, county clerks can inspect the outside of an absentee ballot to see if a signature, witness signature or witness address is missing. If so, they have the option to contact the voter and allow them the opportunity to fix the errors.

So while inspectors in Wisconsin on Election Day still must check for the signatures and witness address, they begin with the confidence knowing most have already been checked and addressed by clerks.

North Carolina and Georgia (red states in 2016) could have early results too, but there have been voting problems in those states in some recent elections. North Carolina elections officials still expect to have a vast majority of results by election night.

Ohio (a red state in 2016) and Minnesota (a blue state) are also likely to have results early, though both states have provisions to accept ballots after Election Day provided they were postmarked by Nov. 3, and a late surge could delay complete results. Ohio election officials said that results and counting will most likely roll into the Wednesday after Election Day.

States with critical Senate races

The battle for control of the Senate is also a huge story on Election Day, and it is possible that those results may be known quicker than those of the presidential election.

That’s because pivotal Senate races are in states like Colorado, which has been a vote-by-mail state for years, and Montana, which begins processing nearly a month out. Kentucky — where a lot of Democratic money has poured into the effort to unseat Senator Mitch McConnell — gives election officials a large runway to start pre-processing. These states are likely to have nearly complete results on election night.

Read further to see how the rate of tabulating the ballots might affect the calling of the votes -
one chart for Trump, one chart for Biden.


Huge numbers of voters out with mail in ballots and in-person early voting.

More than 22 million Americans have already cast ballots in the 2020 election, a record-shattering avalanche of early votes driven both by Democratic enthusiasm and a pandemic that has transformed the way the nation votes.

The 22.2 million ballots submitted as of Friday night represents 16% of all the votes cast in the 2016 presidential election, even as eight states are not yet reporting their totals and voters still have more than two weeks to cast ballots. Americans’ rush to vote is leading election experts to predict that a record 150 million votes may be cast and turnout rates could be higher than in any presidential election since 1908.

“It’s crazy,” said Michael McDonald, a University of Florida political scientist who has long tracked voting for his site McDonald’s analysis shows roughly 10 times as many people have voted compared with this point in 2016.

“We can be certain this will be a high-turnout election,” McDonald said.

So far the turnout has been lopsided, with Democrats outvoting Republicans by a 2-1 ratio in the 42 states included in The Associated Press count. Republicans have been bracing themselves for this early Democratic advantage for months, as they’ve watched President Donald Trump rail against mail-in ballots and raise unfounded worries about fraud. Polling, and now early voting, suggest the rhetoric has turned his party’s rank and file away from a method of voting that, traditionally, they dominated in the weeks before Election Day.

That gives Democrats a tactical advantage in the final stretch of the campaign. In many critical battleground states, Democrats have “banked” a chunk of their voters and can turn their time and money toward harder-to-find infrequent voters.

But it does not necessarily mean Democrats will lead in votes by the time ballots are counted. Both parties anticipate a swell of Republican votes on Election Day that could, in a matter of hours, dramatically shift the dynamic.

The Republican numbers are going to pick up,” said John Couvillon, a GOP pollster who is tracking early voting. “The question is at what velocity, and when?”

Couvillon said Democrats cannot rest on their voting lead, but Republicans are themselves making a big gamble. A number of factors, from rising virus infections to the weather, can impact in-person turnout on Election Day. “If you’re putting all your faith into one day of voting, that’s really high risk,” Couvillon said.

That’s why, despite Trump’s rhetoric, his campaign and party are encouraging their own voters to cast ballots by mail or early and in-person. The campaign, which has been sending volunteers and staffers into the field for months despite the pandemic, touts a swell in voter registration in key swing states like Florida and Pennsylvania — a sharp reversal from the usual pattern as a presidential election looms.

But it’s had limited success in selling absentee voting. In key swing states, Republicans remain far less interested in voting by mail.

In Pennsylvania, more than three-quarters of the more than 437,000 ballots sent through the mail so far have been from Democrats. In Florida, half of all ballots sent through the mail so far have been from Democrats and less than a third of them from Republicans. Even in Colorado, a state where every voter is mailed a ballot and Republicans usually dominate the first week of voting, only 19% of ballots returned have been from Republicans.

“This is all encouraging, but three weeks is a lifetime,” Democratic data strategist Tom Bonier said of the early vote numbers. “We may be midway through the first quarter and Democrats have put a couple of points on the board.”

The massive amount of voting has occurred without any of the violent skirmishes at polling places that some activists and law enforcement officials feared. It has featured high-profile errors — 100,000 faulty mail ballots sent out in New York, 50,000 in Columbus, Ohio, and a vendor supplying that state and Pennsylvania blaming delays in sending ballots on overwhelming demand. But there’s little evidence of the mass disruption that some feared as election offices had to abruptly shift to deal with the influx of early voting.

But there have been extraordinary lines and hourslong wait times in Georgia, Texas and North Carolina as they’ve opened in-person early voting. The delays were largely a result of insufficient resources to handle the surge, something advocates contend is a form of voter suppression.

Republicans argue that these signs of enthusiasm are meaningless — Democratic early voters are people who would have voted anyway, they say. But an AP analysis of the early vote shows 8% of early voters had never cast a ballot before, and 13.8% had voted in half or fewer of previous elections for which they were eligible.

The data also show voters embracing mail voting, which health officials say is the safest way to avoid coronavirus infection while voting. Of the early voters, 82% cast ballots through the mail and 18% in person. Black voters cast 10% of the ballots cast, about the same as their share of the national electorate, according to the AP analysis of data from L2, a political data firm. That’s a sign that those voters, who have been less likely to vote by mail than white people and Latinos, have warmed to the method.

Mail ballots so far have skewed toward older voters, with half coming from voters over age 64. Traditionally, younger and minority voters send their mail ballots in closer to Election Day or vote in person.

The mail ballots already returned in several states dwarf the entire total in prior elections. In Wisconsin, more than five times as many mail ballots have been cast compared with the entire number in 2016. North Carolina has seen nearly triple the number so far.

In-person early voting began this week in several major states and also broke records, particularly in crowded, Democratic-leaning metropolitan areas. In Texas, Houston’s Harris County saw a record 125,000 ballots cast. In Georgia, hourslong lines threaded from election offices through much of the state’s urban areas.

Tunde Ezekiel, a 39-year-old lawyer and Democrat who voted early in Atlanta on Thursday, said he wanted to be certain he had a chance to oust Trump from office: “I don’t know what things are going to look like on Election Day. … And I didn’t want to take any chances.”

The obvious enthusiasm among Democrats has cheered party operatives, but they note that it’s hard to tell which way turnout will eventually fall. Republicans may be just as motivated, but saving themselves for Election Day.

High turnout can benefit either side,” Bonier said. “It just depends.

Associated Press writers K


Curtailing the vote in Texas. That’s your modus operandi. Reject it, don’t let it get checked.


Conservative lawyer floats challenge of election outcome

A national conservative group may challenge the outcome of the Nov. 3 elections by arguing that municipalities are improperly using hundreds of millions of dollars in private money to administer the polls, a lawyer for the group said Tuesday.

Attorney Erick Kaardal argued during a court hearing in Iowa that local officials have impermissibly accepted grants from the Center for Tech and Civic Life to help pay for election staffing, training, equipment and other expenses.

Kaardal is an attorney for the Amistad Project of the Thomas More Society, a conservative group that is representing plaintiffs in lawsuits seeking to block municipalities in several states from using the grants.

On Tuesday, federal judges in Iowa and Texas rejected the group’s arguments, joining courts in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan that have done the same in recent days. Similar lawsuits are pending in Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Georgia, a group spokesman said.

In Texas, District Judge Amos Mazzant denied the group’s request for a temporary restraining order to block four counties, including Harris and Dallas, from using the election grants. He said the group will not be injured if more people vote because of the private election funding.

“That is not a harm. That is democracy,” he wrote.

In Iowa, U.S. District Judge Leonard Strand rejected a request to block two counties from using the grants, saying it “has not demonstrated any chance of prevailing on the merits.” By contrast, he said blocking the funding would hinder the counties’ ability to run the election and undermine voting rights.

Still, the lawsuits could set the stage for long-shot post-election litigation for conservatives seeking to challenge the outcome.

The Thomas More Society argues that the grants, which were funded through a $300 million donation from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, would disproportionately favor progressives, even though they have been made available to all municipalities nationwide.

The Center for Tech and Civic Life describes itself as a non-partisan organization backed by Democrats, Republicans and independents. It says more than 2,100 election administrators have applied for the grants.

“We are confident that these frivolous charges are without merit, and look forward to continuing this critical grant program in these unprecedented times,” the Chicago-based group said in a statement.

Elections officials say more funding is needed to ensure safe elections during the coronavirus pandemic. The grants have been used to expand mail-in and early voting, recruit poll workers and purchase personal protective equipment.

U.S. District Judge Paul Maloney in Michigan on Monday rejected the allegation that the center targets progressive areas, saying its grants are going to municipalities of all political majorities. He rejected a request to block the cities of Lansing and Flint from using the grants.

Kaardal argued Tuesday in Iowa that running federal elections is “a core governmental responsibility” that needs to be exclusively publicly funded. He argued that accepting private money for that purpose was not authorized by federal law.

Kaardal said his group might press the argument even after the election by asking federal courts to rule that election officials acted improperly by taking the funds.

If a federal court agreed, the group would present the ruling to state canvassing boards and Congress to argue that the election was tainted and that a new special election should be ordered, he said.

The group’s lawsuit in Iowa challenges only the grants accepted by Black Hawk and Scott counties, even though 64 of the state’s 99 counties have received them. Kaardal said some of the plaintiffs live in those counties, and that the group may challenge other counties later.

A lawyer for Black Hawk County, Katie Graham, said there was “nothing illegal or improper” about accepting the grants, which will make voting safer for everyone.

There’s no evidence that the grants were targeted for partisan gain, she said, noting that many Republican-leaning counties received them. Black Hawk County is using the grant to provide hazard pay for poll workers.

Graham had urged Strand to reject the plaintiffs’ request for a temporary restraining order blocking the use of the money. She said the claim it would disenfranchise conservatives was a “novel argument” based on speculation.

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Your ballot selfie could get you arrested in these states. Here’s where it’s legal and illegal.

It’s Election Day!

You walk into your local polling place, grab your ballot, and enter a voting booth. But then, you decide that merely exercising the foundational right of democracy will not suffice: you must capture the moment, and share it with your digital peers. You take out your cell phone, strike a pose, and snap a selfie with your ballot.

Wait — were you allowed to do that? It depends what state you’re in.

The Associated Press recently combed through the laws in all 50 states relating to the legality of taking a selfie in the voting booth. In 21 US states (and Washington, DC), it is perfectly legal to take a photo with a ballot. In at least 16 other states, it is explicitly illegal — and can earn you a fine or even jail time.

Why the ballot selfie is so controversial

Ballot selfies, however innocent they may seem, have become a heated topic of debate.

Proponents argue that the selfies are “good for democracy” and are protected under free speech. Moreover, the pro-selfie crowd asserts that these photos boost young voter turnout. Studies have shown that Facebook users are more inclined to vote after seeing their friends post about voting on social media.

Those in opposition claim that ballot selfies could “compromise elections” by encouraging vote buying. That is, a person who is being paid to vote a certain way can easily, and privately, prove she did so by taking a photo of her ballot.

As a result, America is divided on the ballot selfie.

Ballot selfies are contentious — and have even gone to court

There seems to be little in the way of geographical trends, but in general, many Northwestern states support the selfies, while the Deep South unilaterally opposes them.

“I was doing this for years before I learned it was technically illegal,” Nikola Jordan, a 33-year-old Nebraska voter, told the Associated Press. “It’s all about encouraging other people to get involved in the process, to show it can be fun and exciting to make your voice heard [at the polls].”

Ballot selfies are now legal in Nebraska — but in other states, like Colorado, the photos qualify as a misdemeanor charge.

At least 16 states maintain that ballot selfies are illegal, but there is mounting opposition to these laws, centering on the infringement of First Amendment rights. For instance, an effort to ban the ballot selfie in New Hampshire was widely challenged — Snapchat and the American Civil Liberties Union even joined in — and was eventually turned down by a federal judge.

In most states, though, the laws governing cellphone usage and photos in the voting booth are still pretty muddy, and there is no specific verbiage allowing or banning the ballot selfie.

So if you’re feeling like you just can’t contain your phone camera trigger finger today, and want to ensure that you have complete legal freedom to do so, make sure to refer to the list below.

  • Colorado: Ballot selfie ban overturned 11/05/2016
  • Connecticut: No law bans ballot selfies
  • District of Columbia: No law bans ballot selfies
  • Hawaii: Voters allowed to share digital images of their ballots
  • Idaho: No law bans ballot selfies
  • Indiana: A law prohibiting ballot selfies was turned down last year
  • Kansas: Legal, as of 11/07/2016
  • Kentucky: No law bans ballot selfies
  • Louisiana: No law bans ballot selfies (but several legislators are “not fond” of them)
  • Maine: No law against voters taking photos of their ballots
  • Massachusetts* : Law banning photographs overturned last year
  • Minnesota: Photos allowed but can’t be shown to other voters at polling station
  • Montana: No law bans ballot selfies
  • Nebraska: A bill passed this year ended a $100 fine for taking a photo
  • New Hampshire: A bill attempting to ban ballot selfies was rejected in court
  • North Dakota: Photos inside polling places are allowed
  • Oregon: No law bans mail-in ballot selfies
  • Rhode Island: New law allows selfies inside polling places
  • Utah: Ballot selfies are legal — but photographing others’ ballots is illegal
  • Vermont: No law bans ballot selfies
  • Virginia: Attorney general says ballot selfies are legal
  • Washington: No law bans ballot selfies (but legislators are not fond of them)
  • Wyoming: No laws bans ballot selfies

  • Arizona: Photography banned within 75 feet of polling places, but early ballots can be shared on social media
  • Arkansas: State law on sharing voter choices is ambiguous
  • California: Law banning people from displaying their marked ballots will be repealed after the November election; current law is not strictly enforced
  • Delaware: No cellphones allowed in the voting booth, but not strictly enforced
  • Iowa: No phones allowed in the voting booth; photos of absentee ballots are okay
  • Maryland: Electronic devices banned in polling place; photos of mailed ballots okay
  • Ohio: Voters prohibited from showing others how they voted; selfies are unclear
  • Oklahoma: 40-year-old state law suggests photos are illegal but result in no penalty
  • Pennsylvania: Voters prohibited from showing others how they’re “about to vote”
  • Tennessee: Voters prohibited from taking photos in polling places; photos of mail-in ballots are legally ambiguous
  • Texas: Photography banned within 100 feet of polling places; taking a photo of a mail-in ballot is allowed under law
  • West Virginia: Electronic devices outlawed inside voting booths; taking a photo of a mail-in ballot is not regulated under law

  • Alabama: Absolutely no photos of ballots are allowed; voters have “a right to cast a ballot in secrecy and in private”
  • Alaska: State law prohibits voters from showing marked ballots
  • Florida: Photographs, either in a polling place or of a mail-in ballot, are banned
  • Georgia: No photos of ballots (or voting screens) are allowed
  • Illinois: Showing your marked ballot to another voter is a felony that can earn you one to three years in prison
  • Michigan: Ban on ballot selfies upheld 10/30/2016
  • Mississippi: Showing your marked ballot to another voter is illegal
  • Missouri: Illegal, punishable by up to a $2,500 fine
  • Nevada: Photographs, either in a polling place or of a mail-in ballot, are banned
  • New Jersey: Showing your marked ballot to another voter is illegal
  • New Mexico: Showing your marked ballot to another voter is illegal
  • New York: Showing your marked ballot to another voter is illegal
  • North Carolina: Photographing a marked ballot is illegal
  • South Carolina: Photographing a marked ballot is illegal
  • South Dakota: Illegal due to fear of voter coercion
  • Wisconsin: Showing your marked ballot to another voter is illegal under state law

Note: This post has been updated to reflect recent changes in legislation, as of 11/08/2016.

*Note 2: We’ve been getting a lot of questions about the legality of ballot selfies in Massachusetts. According to the legal experts we spoke with, the New Hampshire ruling in September of 2016 also applies to Massachusetts.


Ballot rejection due to ‘mis-matched’ signatures is one end of the voting process that of course voters want to avoid. Some guideslines and some strategies may not do the trick when you see numbers ranging in the 10% range of rejection.

Earlier this year, voting-rights advocates, Democrats, and progressive groups began a major push to make voting by mail easier, and to persuade citizens to cast their ballot that way. In the midst of the pandemic, they thought it was the best way to ensure safety and get votes counted. The effort worked: Vote-by-mail rates this year are expected to easily set records. But the push to expand mail-in voting also introduces a number of risks. While some of these dangers, including a “blue shift” of late-counted votes and disruptions to the U.S. Postal Service, have been scrutinized, less attention has been paid to signature matching, the single-biggest reason for the disqualification of mailed ballots in 2016.

“Everybody’s vote should count,” says Hannah Fried, the national campaign director at All Voting Is Local, a nonprofit that seeks to expand voting access. “If you’re an eligible voter and you voted, your ballot should not be rejected for a highly technical reason out of your control—because the signature was sloppy, or you cannot write in the same way you used to be able to write. There’s something fundamentally unfair about it.”

States use signature verification as a way to protect the sanctity of the ballot. (Some require only that an envelope be signed, or mandate a witness, a notarized signature, or a photo ID.) In-person voter fraud is vanishingly rare because a would-be fraudster has to present herself as someone else at a polling station. Vote-by-mail fraud is also very rare, but signatures are intended to add an extra layer of security: First, a voter has to attest under penalty of law that the ballot is hers. Second, the voter’s signature provides a way to make sure she’s really the person who signed the ballot.

How that is done, like the rest of the American election system, varies wildly from state to state and even from county to county. Some jurisdictions use the signature on a voter-registration form or a ballot request or a driver’s license. A software program might make the first cut, or humans might conduct the whole process. Examiners might have a single autograph to compare, or dozens. Many people use more than one name, and might use the wrong signature on their ballot. The singer Lady Gaga tweeted a timely reminder on Sunday: “When I sign legal documents, I repeat Stefani Germanotta over+over quietly in my head so I don’t accidentally sign as Lady Gaga,” she wrote, referring to her birth name.

The New York Times recently asked a Jefferson County, Colorado, election official to identify forged signatures, and he succeeded, but that’s probably the wrong way to test the process. Fraud is exceedingly rare; the much greater danger is that legitimate ballots will be thrown out.

“At the end of the day, officials are not trained in how to conduct signature-match verification,” Kristen Clarke, the president of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, says. “They use procedures that would not stand up in a court of law.”

One result of this patchwork of laws and practices is widely varying rates of rejection. In a recent study of “lost votes” in voting by mail in 2016, Professor Charles Stewart III of MIT found that states that conduct their elections primarily by mail have a much lower rejection rate (0.92 percent) than those that allow voters to cast ballots by mail only for limited reasons (1.8 percent). These numbers are small, but in close elections they could be consequential. The differential rates seem to stem from different philosophies about examining signatures. Stewart notes that absentee voting by mail has historically been viewed as a convenience, so voters took the risk. But if states mail all voters a ballot, that argument no longer holds.

We believe in signature verification, and when we do that verification, we’re really confirming someone’s identity,” Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold, a Democrat, told me. “So it’s important to do that for us in Colorado. But I will say that we believe in accessible elections. And if you have a right to vote, you should have your voice heard.”

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This article is an update from the one I earlier posted, showing where it is safe to take a ballot selfie or not.