Postal Service election mailers raise questions, stir confusion in California

FILE A United States Postal Service worker makes a delivery with gloves and a mask in Warren Mich

In an emailed statement Saturday as at least five additional states considered suing over the postcards, the USPS said the mailers are meant to provide "general, all-purpose guidance on the use of the mail, and not guidance on state election rules". Ballots are mailed out 18 days prior to election day.

The lawsuit cites a national pre-election postcard that the Postal Service is planning on sending to every US household. But under Colorado's system of universal mail-in voting, all voters are automatically send a ballot which they can either mail or return in-person at a polling center or drop-box location.

Washingtonians do not need to request a mail or absentee ballot, despite a "plan ahead" postcard by the U.S. Postal Service suggesting voters do so, according to the state Secretary of State's Office.

In a statement, the USPS did not directly address the potentially misleading statements on its informational circulars for California voters.

"Counties where the postcards were already received, like Clark County, are already having their phones begin to ring from concerned voters", Augino said, "and I expect that to be much more widespread by Monday".

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"In reality, Colorado voters do not need to request a ballot at any time".

In addition to the guidance that Colorado voters must request a mail-in ballot, Griswold's office also takes issue with a recommendation that voters mail back their ballots at least a week before Election Day. In Idaho, absentee ballots must be received on or before November 3 in order to be counted, while in Washington ballots will be counted as long as they are postmarked or left in an official ballot drop box by Election Day. This, in turn, led to widespread concerns that the Postal Service would not be able to handle a surge in mail-in ballots this fall and that voters should return their mail-in ballots as early as possible to make sure they are counted.

Many states do require advance requests for mail-in ballots, but in California, all active registered voters will sent a ballot for the 2020 election, starting October 5. He noted that the mailer directs people to a website where they can click through to their state's election information.

Pierce County residents can expect a postcard from the U.S. Postal Service this weekend that might be confusing.

The postcard was sent nationwide, but Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea said "every state has different election laws and policies" and thus "the postcard contributes misinformation to the national conversation on this important election".

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