Colo. secretary of state says USPS sent misinformation about mail-in ballots to voters, files lawsuit

Politics

The USPS postcard being sent to voters, according to Griswold.

DENVER (KDVR) — Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold accused the United States Postal Service of sending misinformation about mail-in ballots to voters and refusing to listen to states about potential problems.

On Twitter, Griswold included an image of a postcard the USPS is sending to every household and PO box in the U.S. It encourages voters to prepare for the Nov. 3 election by taking a number of steps, including requesting a mail-in ballot and sending a ballot at least seven days before Election Day.

However, that information is not accurate for Colorado voters. In Colorado, ballots are automatically sent to every registered voter; there is no need to request one. Additionally, the state says ballots need to be mailed back eight days prior to the election, not seven.

Griswold said the information on the postcard is confusing.

“Secretaries of State asked (USPS) Postmaster General DeJoy to review a draft before election information was sent to voters to ensure accuracy. But he refused. Now millions of postcards with misinformation are printed & being mailed to voters,” Griswold wrote.

She said when the state asked USPS to not send the postcards to people in Colorado, the service refused.

“This may have started off as a well-intentioned effort by (USPS), but their refusal to listen to election experts combined with the recent postal slowdown in some parts of the country is beyond suspect,” Griswold said.

She said she will do everything possible to prevent USPS from sending misinformation to voters.

“Confusing voters about mail ballots in the middle of a pandemic is unacceptable. It can undermine confidence in the election & suppress votes,” Griswold said.

The USPS responded to our request for comment with the following statement:

“In August, the Postal Service began to roll out an omni-channel public information campaign that will continue through Election Day to educate the public on the Postal Service’s role in the mail-in ballot process.

The non-partisan campaign neither encourages nor discourages mail-in voting; rather, it is designed to reach and inform all voters about the importance of planning ahead if they plan to vote by mail.”

They added to their statement on Saturday afternoon:

“Our mail-piece provides general, all-purpose guidance on the use of the mail, and not guidance on state election rules.  The mail-piece – which has already been delivered to most households and will reach every American residential mailing and P.O. Box addresses in the coming week – contains a single set of simple recommendations for voters throughout the nation, regardless of where they live and where they vote.  At the same time, we are aware that each state has its own specific rules, deadlines and requirements, and the mail-piece acknowledges that fact. 

The main message of the mail-piece is that voters should plan ahead, educate themselves about voting options available in their jurisdiction, and, if they choose to vote by mail, to give themselves enough time to receive, complete and return their ballot.  We specifically encourage voters to visit their local election board website and provide a link for this purpose (usps.com/votinginfo).

“The Postal Service recognizes that not every state requires a voter to request a ballot in order to obtain one by mail for the November election. The Postal Service’s guidance remains that individuals need to understand their state’s rules and deadlines, and to plan ahead.”

On Saturday morning, Griswold said she had filed a lawsuit against the USPS.

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