Hawaii residents to get USPS elections mailer critics call ‘misleading’

United States Postal Service
United States Postal Service(Hawaii News Now/file)
Published: Sep. 15, 2020 at 1:57 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - City elections officials in Honolulu say Hawaii residents are expected to receive a flyer from the United States Postal Service that contains voting information which has been decried as misleading by bipartisan authorities in several states.

The two-sided mailer, which has already been delivered to many residences on the mainland, includes a series of tips that don’t apply to voters in places like Hawaii, Utah, Colorado and Nevada.

One tip reads: “Request your mail-in ballot (often called “absentee” ballot) at least 15 days before Election Day.”

Another: “Once received, follow the instructions. Add postage to the return envelope if needed.”

But voters in Hawaii and eight other states, along with Washington, D.C., do not need to request mail-in ballots, since every registered voter receives one in the mail.

As a result, elections officials in states that automatically send ballots to registered voters are worried that the mailers will create panic or confusion among would-be voters who may not be aware that they don’t need to request a ballot.

In Colorado, state Secretary of State Jena Griswold won a court order over the weekend that was intended to prevent more of the mailers from being delivered.

And the office of Nevada’s Republican Secretary of State said the fliers were inaccurate, though not necessarily intentionally so.

“I don’t think USPS had any sort of malice or were trying to confuse voters intentionally,” said Wayne Thorley, deputy secretary of state for elections. “I just think they missed the mark a little bit in not realizing how different each states election laws are.”

The controversial mailer comes in the aftermath of questions about whether the USPS was up to the task of handling the surge in mail-in ballots and questions from the White House about the validity of mail-in and absentee voting systems in various states.

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