Virginia leaders pushing USPS to make sure mail-in ballots are properly postmarked
A group of Virginia congressional members are seeking assurances from the U.S. Postal Service that mail-in ballots are properly postmarked.
The group – including Don Beyer (D-VA-08), Gerry Connolly (D-VA-11), Donald McEachin (D-VA-04), Bobby Scott (D-VA-03) and Jennifer Wexton (D-VA-10) – sent letters to Virginia USPS postal managers on the frontlines of election mail operations to ensure all ballots their facilities receive through Nov. 3 are properly postmarked.
The United States Postal Service Office of Inspector General recently identified accurate postmarking as critical to the successful processing of election mail for the 2020 general elections.
“We write to seek your assistance in ensuring that all eligible Virginians who timely cast a ballot are able to exercise their rights to vote this November. Specifically, we ask that all absentee/vote by mail ballot return envelopes coming through your local post offices be postmarked through November 3, 2020,” the members wrote.
Under Virginia law, absentee/vote by mail ballots that are received after Tuesday, November 3 – Election Day – are validly cast so long as the ballot return envelope is postmarked by Election Day and received by local registrars no later than noon on Friday, Nov. 6.
“We must protect the franchise of all Virginians who wish to cast a ballot by mail. If ballot return envelopes are not postmarked, they risk being invalidated through no fault of the voter,” the members added. “Accordingly, we seek a commitment from your office that absentee/vote by mail ballot return envelopes sent by voters in Virginia through November 3, 2020, will be postmarked.”
As of Sept. 28, 2020, at least 972,000 Virginians have requested or cast absentee/vote by mail ballots, nearly four times more the total number of absentee/vote by mail ballots requested or cast in the 2016 election.
The letters are available here.