A fraudulent signature is a subsection of the category of invalid signatures. Not all invalid signatures are fraudulent, but all fraudulent signatures are invalid, and will be declared invalid by the office in charge of determining their validity if the office is able to determine that the signature is fraudulent.
A circulator can introduce fraud by:
- Forging a signature on the petition.
- Fraudulently misrepesenting the purpose and effect of the petition to the signer.
A petition signer can introduce fraud by:
- Affixing to the petition an invented name.
- Affixing to the petition the name of someone other than the signer.
Signers can also make various mistakes in signing petitions, even intentional mistakes, that are not generally regarded as legally fraudulent. These signing errors include:
- Signing the same petition more than once.
- Signing a petition that includes the certification that the signer is a register voter, when the signer is not in fact a registered voter. (If the signer knows he or she isn't registered to vote, this could be considered intentional fraud. However, in most cases where a non-registered voter signs a petition, the signer isn't sure if he or she is currently and legally registered to vote.)
- Signing the petition "on behalf of" a nearby or absent spouse or close relative, because the signer is positive that the spouse or close relative would sign the petition, if the spouse or close relative wasn't otherwise engaged or physically absent.