FACT CHECK: Viral Post Claims California Did Not Require Signature Verification For Mail-In Ballots

Elias Atienza | Fact Check Reporter

A post shared on Facebook claims California did not require signature verification for mail-in ballots.

Verdict: False

California election law requires signature verification for both mail-in ballots and recall petitions. The state did not forgo the requirement for the November election.

Fact Check:

Newsom is facing a recall effort to remove him from office, with some supporters of the move citing Newsom’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and vaccine distribution as reasons he should be ousted, KSBY News reported. Newsom’s opponents said they have enough signatures to force a recall election, according to NBC San Diego.

A post on Facebook claims, “California wants signature verification for Gavin Newsom’s recall but they didn’t require it for mail-in ballots.” (RELATED: No, Pennsylvania Did Not Reject 372,000 Mail In Ballots)

California does, in fact, does require signature verification for mail-in ballots. California’s Code of Regulations state that election officials “must compare the signature on a voted vote-by-mail envelope and a voted provisional ballot envelope to the voter’s signature(s) in the voter’s registration record prior to counting a ballot.” The regulations outline the signature verification process takes place for mail-in ballots, as well as require signature verification for an “initiative, referendum, recall, nominating petition or paper, signature in-lieu of filing fee, and any other petition or paper.”

There was an update to signature verification processes by the California Secretary of State before the 2020 general election to make the process more uniform throughout the state’s 58 counties, The Los Angeles Magazine reported.

Additionally, the California Secretary of State’s news office Twitter account tweeted that signature verification was used to verify mail-in ballots.

“FACT: CA county elections officials verify the signatures on EVERY: vote-by-mail ballot, initiative, referendum, or recall petition candidate nomination document,” reads the tweet.

California news outlets such as the Sacramento Bee and KQED reported about the state’s vote-by-mail process, including signature verification, ahead of the 2020 general election. The Los Angeles Times also published an article about mail-in ballot signature verification.

Over 99 percent of the more than 15 million mail-in ballots in California were verified and counted in the 2020 general election, with most rejections stemming from signatures not matching those on record, The Associated Press reported.

Elias Atienza

Fact Check Reporter
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