State law already has measures in place to prevent fraud. The deadline to submit your public comment is July 5.

A record number of Republicans voted by mail in 2020, but GOP leaders in North Carolina want to make it harder for everyone to do so again.

GOP leaders have called on state elections officials to allow “county boards of elections to scrutinize voter signatures on absentee ballot request forms and absentee ballot return envelopes, to determine whether to count those ballots in North Carolina elections,” the North Carolina Board of Elections says.

State law currently requires an absentee voter to confirm their identity by having two witnesses or a notary attest that the voter completed their ballot. 

Under the new proposal, county elections officials would compare the signatures on absentee documents with those on the voters’ registration documents. 

According to The Atlantic, signature-matching requirements in other states have resulted in many legitimate ballots being rejected. Those whose votes were cast out were disproportionately elderly, younger, and people of color. 

Do you think the proposal is a good idea? Well, now’s your chance to weigh in

In June, the NCOE opened a public comment period on the proposed change, and there are  only a few more days left to let your voice be heard before the board makes a decision. The public comment period ends on Tuesday, July 5. You can leave your comments with the NCBOE here.

The board “will compile the comments and post them online before the State Board meets to consider a ruling on the request, likely in mid-July.”

More than half of states rely on signature matching to verify the identities of people who vote by mail,” The New York Times says, but “the practice is not implemented consistently across states, or even within them.” 

“Although a person’s signature can vary over time, some features tend to remain. Officials are trained to evaluate a signature first on “broad” characteristics like size, proportion, slant and speed of writing.”

It is unclear if that training will be given to county officials if the NCBOE approves the signature request.