Here is how Fresno County counts the votes

Title: Here is how Fresno County counts the votes
Source: The Fresno Bee
Date: July 11, 2013
By: Brandi Orth

As evidenced by the last two Fresno County elections, every vote is important and it could be a wild ride toward the final official vote results. It is the responsibility of the elections official to follow established procedures, which apply election law fairly and consistently to every voter's ballot, while remaining neutral on the ballot issues. As election officials, we work hard to be sure that every qualified ballot is counted.

One of my goals when I accepted the county clerk position was to better educate the public about the election process. The issues brought up during the recent city of Fresno election have provided a great opportunity for registered voters to be more informed about election procedures and to learn about voteby-mail ballots, provisional ballots, observers and signature verification, to name a few.  Voters who prefer to vote at home rather than at the polls may request a vote-by-mail (VBM) ballot. When the VBM voter returns a voted ballot, they do so in a special return envelope including their signature.

The signature on every VBM return envelope is compared with the voter's signature on their voter registration card to qualify the voter and their ballot.

Election Code 3000 states "this division (Vote by Mail Voting) shall be liberally construed in favor of the vote-by-mail voter." Fresno County elections officials received detailed training on the technique of handwriting comparisons from a leading expert in the field of questioned document examination. If the signatures compare, the voter's return envelope is marked as qualified. No VBM return envelope is opened until the voter's signature has been compared and is determined to be qualified.

A voter's signature may change over time. In a perfect world, every voter would have their current signature on file with us. We encourage voters to reregister when they feel their signature has changed from their last voter registration card. If you are unsure, contact the County Clerk's office at 600-VOTE for additional instructions.