Chest X-ray showing pneumonia This chest X-ray shows an area of lung inflammation indicating the presence of pneumonia. Your doctor will start by asking about your medical history and doing a physical exam, including listening to your lungs with a stethoscope to check for abnormal bubbling or crackling sounds that suggest pneumonia.
Ballots from June marked "too late" in Sacramento County, Calif. For many voters, it's more convenient than going to the polls. But tens of thousands of these mail-in ballots are likely to be rejected — and the voter might never know, or know why. Election Assistance Commission found that in more than a quarter of a million absentee ballots were rejected.
The ballot wasn't returned on time, which in most states is by Election Day. Sometimes it's the voter's fault. Others blame the post office. Kim Alexander, who runs the California Voter Foundation, says this past June almost absentee ballots arrived at the Santa Cruz County election office the morning after the primary.
Too late to count. Because the only thing worse than people not voting is people trying to vote and having their ballots go uncounted," says Alexander. They could be making the same mistakes over and over again. The voter forgets to sign the ballot envelope, as required.
The voter sends the envelope back, but forgets to include the ballot. The voter uses the wrong envelope. The voter already voted in person. The voter's signature on the ballot envelope doesn't match the one on file.
This last mistake is a big problem, says Alexander. In California, all absentee ballot signatures are checked against the ones the election office has in its records. But many of those signatures come from the Department of Motor Vehicles, where people sign their names using a stylus on a pad, which can look a lot different than a signature written on paper.
You have older voters whose signature changes over time too," says Alexander. Inthousands of California ballots were rejected because the signatures didn't match.
Absentee voters who are confused and vote twice is another concern. First, they send in their absentee ballot. So then they also go to the polls and they vote," says McLaughlin.
That vote is a provisional one, but when election officials get that second ballot in the mail, both ballots are rejected. It's illegal to vote twice — even by mistake.
But absentee voting hasn't received that same attention, he says. And in a close election, those ballots could make a difference. Gronke says it's also important to know which voters are affected the most. A study by the California Civic Engagement Project at the University of California, Davis found that absentee ballots cast by young voters or those using non-English ballots were more likely to be rejected.
And Gronke says a study he did in Florida found that lots of absentee ballots got tossed in precincts made up entirely of senior citizens. Gronke doesn't know what those errors were, but he thinks the findings do raise questions about whether instructions on how to vote absentee are clear enough.
Election officials are doing more to try to educate voters about the rules. Their big message is to get the absentee ballot in the mail as soon as possible. Better yet, says Alexander, they should notify voters when their ballots have been rejected and tell them why — so they don't make the same mistake twice.Grossmann M.
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