Beth Shorten’s Ballot Was Challenged–And She’s Grateful For That

By on October 16, 2020

The first time I voted was back in the 1980s.  (So if you didn’t know before, you know now approximately how old I am…please keep it to yourselves.)  I’ve been voting regularly since.  I’m not going to say that I’ve never missed an election because I probably have.  Although I have never missed voting in a Presidential election and as I get older (and hopefully wiser), I’ve come to realize how important my vote and my voice are in EVERY election, be it national or local.  I’ve made it a point to be at my polling place as early as possible when there is an election.  Sometimes I’m even number one!  (Woo hoo for me!)

This year is a lot different; we all know that.  We all SHOULD know how important it is to make our voices heard through the voting process.  When I received my ballot, I followed the directions, filled it out properly and dropped it on our local drop box.

As I do with many things, I wrote about it. Then over the weekend, I got a letter in the mail from the county Board of Elections.

Now I could have been annoyed, but I’m actually grateful.  Why?  Because it confirms that my ballot was picked up and reviewed.  It confirms that the Board of Elections is doing a thorough and diligent job.  And that is something we very much need.  We need our ballots to reach the correct destination, we need them to be carefully reviewed and we need our votes to be counted.

So what happened here?  It’s actually MY fault.  While I DID sign the ballot, since the 1980s my signature HAS changed.  I made a decision quite a long time ago (after I got married) as to how I would sign documents.  I feel it’s  more unique and  I know it’s more “me.”  However, every time I’ve gone to vote and sign the book, I’ve reverted to the original way because that’s the way it’s shown in the book.  It’s not reflective of me, but it’s what I’ve done.  And because I wasn’t doing it the “regular” way, I forgot.

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To be called out on that by the Board of Elections is a good thing.  And rectifying the situation was simple.  I simply filled out the form that was enclosed, copied my driver’s license (a form of ID which has my current signature on it) and faxed it back.  The whole process took less than ten minutes.  And then, just because I’m a little obsessed over making my vote count, I also attached the scan and EMAILED it back to the clerk of the Board of Elections with this note:  

“I received your letter and am grateful that you are reviewing ballots so diligently.  In this election year, this is imperative and I appreciate your attention to detail.

 “I realize that my signature has evolved since I started voting and  have attached her a copy of the form you sent along with a copy of my NJ driver’s license. Please note that I also faxed a copy of such just to be safe. 

 Thank you again.  Stay well and stay safe!”

It’s also important to note that if I wanted to I could have also returned the form and a copy of my identification via email, as a postage paid envelope was also included.

While I am sorry that I may have caused a bit more work for the Board of Elections, I am grateful that they are being diligent.  I am confident that my vote IS being counted.  And that’s not just a good thing, it’s am IMPORTANT thing.

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If you have received your ballot and have the opportunity to turn it in via drop box, I encourage you to do it now.  If you plan on mailing it, I encourage you to do it now.  And if you are going in person to vote, have a plan and be safe.  America is OUR country; every voice needs to be heard and every vote needs to be counted.

Beth Shorten is a life-long resident of Verona. For more than six years, she has been chronicling life here on her personal site, Bfth’s Boring Blog. This piece was originally published as “Letter FROM the Board of Elections

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