Issues over a required signature prevented thousands of Ohio voters from casting absentee ballots in last year’s general election, The Associated Press reported Monday.
Twenty-one of Ohio’s 88 county boards of elections rejected more than 6,500 ballot applications because a signature was either missing or didn’t match what was on file, the AP reported, citing figures provided through public information requests.
An additional five counties rejected 850 applications combined for various reasons the boards did not specify, according to the AP.
Twelve counties reported no signature issues with absentee ballot applications, and the remaining counties said they didn’t track how many applications were rejected, according to the AP.
Republican state Rep. John Becker told the AP the signatures help safeguard elections and suggested it is a voter’s own fault if they get rejected for forgetting to sign the application.
“I’m a big believer in personal responsibility,” Becker told the AP. “You’ve got the form in front of you. If you forget to sign it, there are consequences.”
Jen Miller, the executive director League of Women Voters of Ohio, which supports allowing people to request absentee ballots online, criticized the process as inefficient and subject to uneven enforcement.
“So a person can register to vote online, but if you go online to request an absentee ballot, a form is mailed to you that you have to mail back,” Miller told the AP.
About 1.4 million of around 8 million voters in Ohio used absentee ballots last year, according to the AP.