A study conducted by the auditor's office of Washington state discovered that counties were four times more likely to reject the mail ballots of Black voters than any other racial group, The Week reports.
According to the report, election officials "disqualified one out of every 40 mail-in votes from Black people," adding that the fundamental cause for every rejection was a problematic signature. Other racial groups such as Native American, Hispanic, Asian and Pacific Islanders also had elevated numbers of rejected votes.
The analysis also determined that "where a person lives was the most significant factor to whether their election ballot was rejected." In certain counties, mail ballots submitted were four to seven times more likely to face rejection than those submitted to others, notes the Seattle Times.
"There were some disparities between the counties, and that's a concern," state Auditor Pat McCarthy told the Seattle Times. "Who you are and where you live should never matter."
Officials claimed that there was no evidence that ballots cast by minority voters were intentionally targeted but the issue was with signatures that either did not match those on file or were missing completely. Additionally, they believe that issue arose because of "voter inexperience, language problems or other factors."
To correct the disparities in voter rejections, officials offered several recommendations such as increasing voter outreach efforts, targeted education regarding signature requirements, and the possibility of eliminating the signature prerequisite.