A federal judge ruled that South Carolina elections officials must not reject any mail-in ballots due to signature mismatch.
The ruling on Oct. 27 by U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel, an appointee of President Barack Obama, called on the state to review and reprocess ballots that have mismatched signatures that have been rejected or set aside, according to several local news websites.
The South Carolina Election Commission on Oct. 26 issued a directive to counties to stop matching signatures on absentee ballots. Ten counties—Allendale, Anderson, Clarendon, Georgetown, Greenville, Greenwood, Laurens, Marlboro, Orangeburg, and Spartanburg—were using the procedures, according to the paper.
“If any county board of voter registration and elections ... is employing or plans to employ a signature matching procedure, it must stop doing so immediately,” South Carolina's elections chief Marci Andino wrote, as reported by The State.
“Further, any absentee ballot that, as a result of a signature matching procedure, has been rejected, disqualified or otherwise set aside so that it will not be counted should immediately be included with those absentee ballots that will be counted, assuming that absentee ballot otherwise complies with [the absentee voting portion of state law].”
"Election officials are not experts at reviewing signatures," he said.
South Carolina absentee ballots have to be received by 7 p.m. ET on Nov. 3 to be counted.