Below is pictured the bottom stub on an Ohio ballot. If you are mailing in a ballot, dropping off at a drop box your instructions are to "do not remove this stub".

What is the function of this stub? How do I know that the numbers and QR (circled in red) are not associated with my name? Is this stub ever removed? If so when? enter image description here

EDITED TO ADD: This picture (below) is of the envelope into which the ballot is placed (so-called authentication or security envelope). Notice that printed on this envelope (circled in red) is preprinted the voter's name and the same numbers that appear on the ballot (28969). It gives the appearance that this number is assigned to not only the ballot but the voter.enter image description here

  • I would guess to help validate that it is a legitimate ballot. If they got in multiple ballots with the same number they would know they had an issue. – Joe W Oct 12 at 19:20
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    Not sure about Ohio, but in WA, ballots have a stub that you keep and can use to check whether your ballot has been received and processed. In that case, there is no secrecy risk since the specific ballot isn't associated with your name. I don't know what the situation in Ohio is. – divibisan Oct 12 at 20:02
  • I think you just have to trust the government that they don't have a database that associates stubs with names. In MA we put our ballots in two nested envelopes. The outer envelope has our name and signature, the inner one does not. We have to trust that the ballot processors separate them without linking the name with the vote. – Barmar Oct 12 at 20:38
  • @divibisan In Ohio, we are instructed "do not remove this stub", also I have added additional information (the ballot's envelope) where the same # is on that envelope. – BobE Oct 14 at 3:08
  • @Barmar please see the additional information I have added. Our "inner" envelope has not only our name on it, but also carries the numbers that are on the actual ballot. – BobE Oct 14 at 3:12

Most mail in ballots are designed so that the security envelope is removed and the stub is separated after the ballot is received by election officials (to confirm that it is a non-fraudulent ballot) and before the ballot is counted. Details election regulations usually govern this kind of matter.

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  • So, for some period of time (prior to removing the ballot stub) election workers can determine what my vote choices are. Contrast that with Pennsylvania, where there are no unique markings on the security (inner) envelope. – BobE Oct 14 at 23:54
  • If the protocol is followed, it can't happen. – ohwilleke Oct 15 at 0:42
  • Confirmation that a ballot is not fraudulent makes a certain sense as it applies to mailed ballots. However, to the best of my recollection the in-person ballot also has a stub. The ballot stub is removed by an election worker as it’s being handed to the voter, in that context it seems that the ballot stub is not being used to verify the authencity of the ballot. – BobE Oct 15 at 1:53

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