A voter registration group is sending hundreds of thousands of mail-in and absentee ballots to voters in states that do not automatically mail the ballot applications themselves.
The Center for Voter Information, a 501(c)4 nonprofit advocacy organization, is responsible for the mail-in ballot applications, in an apparent attempt to promote the voting method President Trump has repeatedly condemned.
The mailings contain legitimate ballot applications, but at first glance appear to be from a government source, which is “potentially misleading” for recipients, according to election officials.
The Center for Voter Information, which is affiliated with nonprofit called the Voter Participation Center, has sent over 800,000 mail-in ballot applications, aiming to “empower” eligible voters with a focus on unmarried women, people of color and young voters, according to the Washington Examiner.
But the organizations have repeatedly sent voters incorrect information. This week, hundreds of thousands of voters in Virginia had incorrect election office addresses on their prepaid return envelopes. Earlier this summer, the Center for Voter Information sent thousands of North Carolina voters forms that were invalid because the group had partially filled them out, a practice made illegal by a new state law.
The partially filled-out ballots came with a letter promoting the voting method — the best way to protect yourself, your family, and your whole community during this time is to vote by mail.”
“Approximately half a million applications sent to eligible voters in Virginia included incorrect information, and we are working diligently to address the issues,” a spokesperson for Center for Voter Information told the Washington Examiner. “We know that voters are on high alert as the November election approaches, and we regret adding to any confusion.” It plans to work with local officials to direct the applications to their proper locations and “rectify any errors at our own expense.”
Virginia’s Fairfax County elections Twitter account sent out a warning about the “inaccurate, potentially misleading mailing,” and said the most efficient way to vote by mail is through its website.
Meagan Wolfe, the administrator of the Wisconsin Elections Commission, told NPR earlier this year she received a letter from the group telling her she wasn’t registered to vote, which wasn’t true. In previous years, the group has sent voter registration applications to deceased people and pets, according to the Washington Post.
Prior to the pandemic, Oregon, Hawaii, Colorado, Utah, and Washington all allowed mail-in voting for all elections. But several states have tried to change policies this year — swing states such as Michigan and Wisconsin will now automatically send mail-in voting applications to all voters. Nevada plans to send mail-in ballots themselves to every registered voter.
Trump has been on a monthslong crusade against the expansion of voting by mail, claiming — without citing evidence — that it will lead to a “rigged election” and “massive voter fraud.”
However, Trump did an about-face on mail-in voting in Florida, Tuesday tweeting encouragement for Florida voters to vote by mail.
“Whether you call it Vote by Mail or Absentee Voting, in Florida the election system is Safe and Secure, Tried and True,” Trump said. “Florida’s Voting system has been cleaned up (we defeated Democrats attempts at change), so in Florida I encourage all to request a Ballot & Vote by Mail!”