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USPS Mailers Contain Inaccurate Information Regarding Nevada’s General Election Voting Process

A person in plastic gloves is holding a stack of voter ballots.
David Calvert
The Nevada Independent
Washoe County Registrar of Voters Office on June 8, 2020.

Lee en español.

Mailers recently sent by the U.S Postal Service (USPS) make two incorrect recommendations to Nevada voters, including direction to request a mail-in ballot at least 15 days before Election Day and to add a postage stamp. 

Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske responded to the mailers in a press release to clarify the inaccuracies. 

“Pursuant to Assembly Bill 4 recently passed by the Nevada Legislature and signed by Governor Sisolak, all active registered voters in Nevada will automatically receive a mail-in ballot for the 2020 general election,” Cegavske said. “Voters who wish to vote by mail do not need to request a mail-in or absentee ballot this year. Additionally, all ballot return envelopes are postage prepaid, meaning voters do not need to add any postage to their ballot return envelope in order to vote by mail.” 

The mailer’s final recommendation to “mail your ballot at least 7 days before Election Day,” is also misleading because the official Nevada voting process legislation states ballots will be accepted as long as they are returned and postmarked by Nov. 3 and received by an election clerk no later than seven days later. 

Cegavske encouraged voters to seek trusted sources for voting information ahead of the general election, such as the secretary of state’s office or local county election offices after explaining her office was not involved with the USPS mailers. 

“The Secretary of State’s office was not made aware of the USPS postcard prior to it being mailed, nor was the office asked to provide input regarding the recommendations listed on the postcard,” she said in the release. 

The voting mailers with incorrect information have frustrated state officials across the country. A federal judge ordered a halt of distribution of the mailers in Colorado the weekend before last after Secretary of State Jena Griswold filed a lawsuit against USPS. The temporary restraining order was in effect through Sept. 22. 

Griswold called the mailers “suspect” amid President Trump’s “pattern of voter suppression” in an interview with CNN

The Postal Service responded to the lawsuit by defending the voting mailer as providing “general, all-purpose guidance on the use of the mail, and not guidance on state election rules,” in a statement to The Colorado Sun. 

Nevadans can expect their ballots to be mailed no later than Oct. 14, or 20 days prior to the election, as outlined in election procedure measure AB4 passed in the July legislative special session. Ballots for military or overseas voters must be sent 45 days before the election and ballots for out of state voters registered in Nevada must be sent 40 days prior. 

Voters can also vote in person if they prefer, as all counties in Nevada are required to have at least one polling location open on Election Day. 

This story was originally published on The Nevada Independent website on September 14, 2020.

Jazmin Orozco Rodriguez is a reporter for KHN’s rural health desk based in Elko, Nevada.
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