A bad batch of some 500,000 absentee ballot applications were mailed out in Virginia just months ahead of the critical 2020 election.
The errors on the forms and envelopes are so serious that legitimate voters who complete the botched mailers could face potential disenfranchisement because of incorrect information.
The Center for Voter Information and partner group the Voter Participation Center were behind the wave of August ballot applications, according to WTOP-FM.
The mailers were sent to addresses in Fairfax, Franklin, Richmond and Roanoke Counties.
The forms were not requested by potential voters.
“Approximately half a million applications sent to eligible voters in Virginia included incorrect information, and we are working diligently to address the issues,” CVI said in a statement.
“Mistakes in our programming are very rare, but we take them seriously, and our methods overall are extraordinarily effective.”
One error found on many applications was an incorrect return address.
Even legitimate voters who filled out these applications risked their application ending up in the wrong place, possibly leading to problems once Election Day rolls around.
Although the Center for Voter Information has vowed to correct the mistakes on the group’s own dime, it’s unclear how many votes will be disrupted because of the errors.
“We know that voters are on high alert as the November election approaches, and we regret adding to any confusion,” CVI said.
“Please rest assured that we are working with local election officials in Virginia to redirect the vote-by-mail applications to the proper locations and will rectify any errors at our own expense.”
We recently sent vote-by-mail applications to voters in VA, encouraging them to participate in democracy. We're aware that some of the mailers may have directed the return envelopes to the wrong election offices, particularly in the Fairfax, Richmond, Franklin & Roanoke areas.
— WVWVAF (@Women_Vote) August 6, 2020
Fairfax County was quick to issue a statement after finding out about the botched applications, warning residents about the “inaccurate” and “potentially misleading” mailings.
We are alerting voters about this inaccurate, potentially misleading mailing from the Center for Voter Information. Fairfax County did NOT send it. Learn more, including the most secure way to apply to #votebymail: https://t.co/NsA2oN35B2 pic.twitter.com/XPZSBT7zWj
— Fairfax County Votes (@fairfaxvotes) August 6, 2020
With many in America calling for expanded vote-by-mail privileges, errors like the ones being discovered in Virginia prove the system is simply not ready to handle such a drastic change in elections.
As mistakes compound along the entire vote-by-mail chain, it’s becoming clear that mass absentee voting isn’t fair to anyone involved.
Author: Jared Harris