The USPS is accused of ‘confusing’ voters by mailing all Americans ‘postcards with misinformation’ about voting

USPS mailer
The Colorado Secretary of State on Friday said the postal service is confusing voters by mailing out a nationwide postcard encouraging Americans to plan ahead.
  • The United States Postal Service was accused Friday of misleading American voters by sending a national mailer encouraging them to plan ahead before they vote by mail.
  • Jena Griswold, the Colorado secretary of state, leveled the accusations against USPS in a tweet late Friday, arguing the mailer is "confusing" because laws and vote-by-mail procedures vary on the state level. 
  • "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, a Democrat, tweeted.
  • Griswold on Saturday announced a lawsuit against USPS over the postcard, calling for it "to cease this mailer and help shield Colorado voters from this misinformation." 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

The United States Postal Service was accused Friday of misleading American voters in mailing the same postcard about absentee voting to all Americans despite variances among how states are choosing to conduct their November election.

Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold, a Democrat, said Friday that the USPS postcard was inaccurate and could be "confusing" to voters.

"I just found out the @USPS is sending this postcard to every household and PO Box in the nation. For states like Colorado where we send ballots to all voters, the information is not just confusing, it's WRONG," Griswold said in a tweet late Friday.

The nationwide USPS mailer encourages voters to plan ahead if they decide to cast their ballot by mail. While the postcard says "rules and dates vary by state" and encourages voters to find individual state policies online, it tells voters to "request their mail-in-ballot" at least 15 days prior to Election Day, echoing its previous guidance from July.

Griswold pointed out that voters in several states. including Colorado, would not need to request an absentee ballot because the state would be mailed to every registered voter. Business Insider previously reported most or all registered voters in California, Colorado, Washington, DC, Hawaii, Montana, New Jersey, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington State, and Vermont, will automatically have a ballot delivered to them via the USPS.

"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," she said. "Now millions of postcards with misinformation are printed & being mailed to voters."

Griswold said the postal service outright refused Colorado's request that it avoid sending the mailer to Colorado residents. Representatives for the postal service did not immediately return Business Insider's request for comment on Saturday.

"Confusing voters about mail ballots in the middle of a pandemic is unacceptable," she said. "It can undermine confidence in the election & suppress votes. I will do everything in my power to stop @USPS from sending misinformation to voters."

On Saturday, Griswold announced a lawsuit against the USPS, calling for it "to cease this mailer and help shield Colorado voters from this misinformation." 

"As the Chief Election Official of the state of Colorado, it's my job to try to stop misinformation and any unnecessary election confusion," she said in a statement.

The Washington State Secretary of State also on Friday called attention to the USPS mailer, similarly alerting state residents that they did not need to request an absentee ballot in order to receive it, as the postcard suggested.

The USPS has been embroiled in months-long controversy over delays and cost-cutting measures instituted by the new Postmaster General Louis DeJoy. Last month, DeJoy, a former Republican donor, promised lawmakers he would temporarily halt further changes to the postal service until after the November election.

Meanwhile, President Donald Trump and his allies have positioned themselves as opponents of state expansions of vote-by-mail amid the coronavirus pandemic, claiming for months without evidence that the practice will lead to widespread voter fraud.

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