I WAS born and bred in County Durham. At the age of 35 I moved to the US and I have lived here for 33 years, but I read The Northern Echo every day.

Having read a number of letters to Hear All Sides regarding the recent US election and in particular the mail in ballot system, I wanted to clarify some facts and explain how the postal system actually works.

To submit a postal ballot you must first write to your local election board and request a ballot. If you are registered to vote and your address matches what is on the registration, a ballot will be mailed to that address.

When you receive your ballot, it comes with a special return envelope with a specific barcode linked to your name and address. You complete the ballot and sign the outside of the envelope. Once the election board receive your envelope, the signature is checked against the signature on file, and the barcode is scanned preventing anyone duplicating a ballot with that name and address.

It is not possible to get your hands on blank ballots from all 50 states and somehow falsely submit them.

David Hopper, Ofallon, Missouri.