According to this article, California election law permits state officials to throw away absentee ballots if they deem that the signature on the ballot does not match the signature on the voter registration. The ACLU challenged the law and the Superior Court judge ruled in the ACLU's favor:

La Follette v. Padilla that California’s scheme violated voters’ right to due process under the state and federal constitutions. “Voting is a fundamental right,” Ulmer explained, “and notice and an opportunity to be heard are fundamental to due process.” Because the current protocol “fails to provide for notice that a voter is being disenfranchised and/or an opportunity for the voter to be heard,” it infringes upon basic due process principles.

However, California state officials have appealed the decision and requested it not go into effect pending appeal.

What is the current status of this as it applies to the 2020 Primary Election of March 3?


What is the current status of this as it applies to the 2020 Primary Election of March 3?

The case was dismissed as moot due to a change in law.

The Case for Restoring and Updating the Voting Rights Act, p. 201.

California appealed to the California Court of Appeal in April 2018. In December 2018, the court of appeals dismissed the appeal as moot because California passed new legislation in September 2018 that provides voters with an opportunity to correct or verify a mismatched signature before the certification of election results, which implemented the remedy sought by the plaintiffs in this case.

Senate Bill No. 759.


SB 759, McGuire. Elections: vote by mail ballots.

Existing law requires an elections official, upon receipt of a vote by mail ballot, to compare the signature on the identification envelope with either the signature appearing on the voter’s affidavit of registration, or the signature appearing on a form issued by an elections official that contains the voter’s signature and that is part of the voter’s registration record. Existing law prohibits, if the elections official determines that the signatures do not compare, the elections official from opening the identification envelope and counting the ballot.

This bill would eliminate the prohibition on counting the ballot and would instead require the elections official to follow specified procedures to notify the voter and allow the voter an opportunity to verify his or her signature before certification of the election. The bill would also make technical, nonsubstantive changes to these provisions. By increasing the duties of local election officials, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.

The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.

This bill would provide that, if the Commission on State Mandates determines that the bill contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement for those costs shall be made pursuant to the statutory provisions noted above.

This bill would declare that it is to take effect immediately as an urgency statute.

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