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What is ballot curing and why it could make the difference in 2020

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Posted at 10:53 PM, Nov 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-06 00:53:12-05

With Georgia playing a key role in this year’s presidential election, Democrats in the state are reminding voters to check the status of their ballot before a 5 p.m. Friday deadline.

Voters in Georgia have until then to “cure” their ballot as the state has a rule that allows people who have their ballot rejected for administrative reasons, such as forgetting a signature, to fix their ballot. Ballots not cured by 5 p.m. Friday are thrown out.

Georgia is not the only state that allows for ballot curing. According to the National Association of State Legislatures, 18 states have rules that allow voters to correct errors such as signature discrepancies. While in some states, the deadline to fix such discrepancies has passed, in other states, voters have up to three weeks to fix their ballot depending on the state.

Other close states that allow ballot curing include Nevada and Arizona. Nevada gives voters seven days to correct a signature discrepancy. Arizona gives voters five days to make a correction.

Pennsylvania is a state that does not have a process for ballot curing. According to WPVI-TV, some counties allowed voters to cure their ballot, prompting a lawsuit from Republicans. According to WPVI, nearly 1,600 voters in Bucks County had their ballot rejected, many for not properly placing their ballot inside of the “secrecy envelope," as voters in Pennsylvania are required to place their ballot inside an unmarked envelope, which is placed inside a marked envelope.

In most states that permit ballot curing, elections officials are to notify voters of the discrepancy immediately. But with thousands of ballots being counted, there are questions on whether election officials are able to reach all voters.

Stacey Abrams, a prominent Georgia Democrat who had an unsuccessful bid for governor in 2018, launched a website “CheckMyBallot.net” which allows voters in key battleground states to check the status of their mail-in or provisional ballot.

What voters aren’t able to do through vote curing is change their vote.