A postcard from the U.S. Postal Service appearing in mailboxes across the country is causing some confusion among voters in Washington state.
The USPS mailing urges people to request their mail-in ballot at least 15 days before Election Day. But in Washington state, ballots are automatically mailed to registered voters at least 18 days before the election.
Secretary of State Kim Wyman’s office said in a statement that it was not made aware of the mailer or its contents in advance. She reiterated that registered voters don’t need to take further action to receive a ballot.
But they are.
Pierce County Auditor Julie Anderson says her office is receiving “a flurry of phone calls and e-mails and correspondence.”
Her staff is busy reassuring people they’ll automatically receive a ballot in the mail, and don’t need to request one individually.
“And it’s not just the Post Office postcard,” she said. “There are partisan newsletters and communication challenges that are giving the exact same message.”
Anderson said the USPS probably had good intentions — and that the information is helpful to people who live in other states, where requesting a ballot is necessary. And she calls the message’s circulation here in Washington state a “low-risk problem,” as people will still receive ballots, despite the confusion.
“It’s a great opportunity to remind people to check their voter registration and be prepared for the election,” Anderson said. She added that the Postal Service’s message makes clear that USPS is taking mail-in voting seriously and treating it as core to its duty.
“They’re highly capable and they’ll get it done,” Anderson said. “They’re wonderful election partners.”
To see if you’re registered, the address on file, or to register to vote, visit VoteWA.gov. You can register online or in person through Oct. 26, or in person through Election Day.
Olympia correspondent Austin Jenkins contributed to this report.