Hundreds of thousands of applications for mail-in ballots that a voter-advocacy group sent to voters in Virginia had the wrong return addresses, adding another complication for state election officials who are already hard-pressed to pull off a smooth election in a pandemic.
The Virginia Department of Elections said the return envelopes were addressed to the wrong election office, which would force election officials to forward the applications to the correct office for processing. Meanwhile, the department said anyone wanting to vote absentee should apply for a ballot through the state’s website.
The problem mailers were sent by The Center for Voter Information, a third-party group not affiliated with the state, department said in a news release Thursday.
The Washington-based group, which says it’s a non-partisan organization aiming to increase voter participation, had mailed over 2 million applications to voters, The Washington Post reported.
About a quarter of them had return envelopes addressed to an inaccurate election office, the center said in a statement. A computer error confused localities with similar names, like Fairfax City and Fairfax County; and Richmond City and Richmond County, The Post reported.
“We know that voters are on high alert as the November election approaches, and we regret adding to any confusion,” the statement said. “Please rest assured that we are working with local election officials in Virginia to re-direct the vote-by-mail applications to the proper locations, and will rectify any errors at our own expense.”
The issue led to many calls to election offices in Virginia. Norfolk’s voter registrar, Stephanie Iles, said her office has been bombarded by residents since Wednesday afternoon, The Virginian-Pilot reported. She recommends that voters use the state’s election website to request a ballot.
“There’s a right way to do this,” she said. “I get they’re trying to increase voter turnout, but it’s creating voter confusion the way it was done.”
Virginia’s mishap with mail-in ballots is another example of how voting by mail can cause voter fraud.
Of late, voter fraud has become a problem in America. To illustrate, The Heritage Foundation found a total of 1,285 voter fraud cases between 2016 and 2020.
A high-profile case happened two years ago when California agreed to eliminate up to 1.5 million inactive voters from its Los Angeles County voter rolls. These inactive voters that were eliminated from the county’s voter rolls consisted of almost one-third of its registered voters.
After the Heritage Foundation piece was published in May the Public Interest Legal Foundation filed a lawsuit in July alleging people in North Carolina voted twice during the 2016 presidential election and 2018 midterm elections. Almost 50 percent of the voter fraud cases found in 2016 were by mail-in ballots, the lawsuit claims. For the 2018 midterm elections, the lawsuit alleges mail-in ballots consisted for over 41 percent of the cases
This week, President Donald Trump’s campaign filed a lawsuit against Nevada Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske over the state’s new law that allows people the option of voting by mail, Fox5Vegas reports.
“In an illegal late night coup, Nevada’s clubhouse Governor made it impossible for Republicans to win the state,” Trump tweeted. “Post Office could never handle the Traffic of Mail-In Votes without preparation. Using Covid to steal the state. See you in Court!”
In an illegal late night coup, Nevada’s clubhouse Governor made it impossible for Republicans to win the state. Post Office could never handle the Traffic of Mail-In Votes without preparation. Using Covid to steal the state. See you in Court! https://t.co/cNSPINgCY7
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 3, 2020
Nevada Governor Sisolak responded on Twitter saying that the legislation he signed “supports the safest, most accessible election possible under these unprecedented circumstances.”
Thank you, @andersoncooper, for allowing me to set the record straight on the legislation I signed Monday which supports the safest, most accessible election possible under these unprecedented circumstances. https://t.co/JLq8VNHjPZ
— Governor Sisolak (@GovSisolak) August 5, 2020
– – –
The Associated Press wrote this story. Star Digital News Digital Editor Zachery Schmidt contributed to this story.
Photo “Mail-In Ballot” by Chris Phan. CC BY-SA 2.0.