U.S. Postal Service to send out millions of postcards with election information

Confusion over mail-in ballots

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - The United States Postal System is sending out millions of postcards nationwide which it says will help people navigate mail in voting, which is a big issue in the 2020 election cycle because of the risks to in-person voting due to the coronavirus.

It tells people to plan ahead and gives a few ideas about how to do that.

Problem is, according to several states, it’s confusing to voters.

Colorado has gone so far as to sue the post office to stop delivery which has been upheld in the courts.

Voters in Pima County have begun to receive the notices and it’s easy to see why a voter might become confused.

Even though the Postal Service instructs voters to check with state laws before voting mail in, it’s no guarantee that they will.

“Ninety per cent of the voters get it right, read the instructions, everything,” said Pima County Recorder F Ann Rodriguez. “It’s that ten percent that consumes your time.”

If a voter doesn’t read all the instructions, it’s easy to see how that ten percent could gum up the works.

The post card tells voters to put a stamp on the return ballot, if required.

“Some states require the citizens to put on a postage stamp,” Rodriguez said. “That’s not what we do in Arizona, we pay for the postage.”

But if that ten percent adds a postage stamp to the little square in the left hand corner where it says not postage required, which many do, “so now you’re treating it like a hand held ballot which takes more time.”

It will get delivered but in the 2020 election which promises to be a big turnout, it can delay counting.

There’s also a suggestion by the post office that voters mail the ballot at least seven days before the election. But Arizona also has other alternatives like curbside drop off or drop off on election day.

In fairness, there will be an insert in the ballots this year explaining the mail in requirements.

The post office also suggests requesting a ballot 15 days before election day.

In Pima County, there is no requesting. All voters on the permanent early voting list get sent a ballot automatically.

There will be 460,000 ballots sent out this election cycle, no need to ask for one.

“They think what happens in Georgia or Florida happens here,” she said. “So people need to pay attention in Arizona to the laws that affect Arizona.”

The post office sent us this response to questions about the card.

"The intention of the mailer was to send a single set of recommendations that provided general guidance allowing voters who choose mail-in voting to do so successfully, regardless of where they live and where they vote. Each state has its own approaches, rules, and deadlines and we provide the following link for voters to determine their local relevant information: usps.com/votinginfo. Our mailer was intended to be general all-purpose guidance on the use of the mail, and not guidance on state rules.

The Postal Service is taking all measures to comply with the temporary restraining order that was issued by the court. However, prior to the state’s filing and the ruling of the court, a substantial number of postcards had already been delivered to residents in Colorado. The Postal Service’s compliance efforts are focused on the postcards that have not yet been delivered.

The Postal Service has requested that the court reconsider its ruling as we believe the court acted prematurely because it did not hold a hearing, or even give the Postal Service an opportunity to respond to the state’s allegations. We believe that presentation of the complete facts will demonstrate that the court’s decision is legally unfounded."

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