Some absentee ballot applications don’t go directly to State Board of Elections

Posted at 7:10 PM, Oct 08, 2012
and last updated 2012-10-08 19:10:58-04

 RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR)--Julie Baldwin may be a lifelong Democrat, but come election time, she wants everyone to vote.

With Virginia considered a swing state in the upcoming Presidential election, she hasn't been surprised to see mail from both major parties in mailbox.

It was a tri-fold flyer from the Republican Party though, that caught her attention.

Baldwin is planning on voting absentee ballot this year, and the flyer had the Virginia Absentee Application inside, but what she found strange, is if she filled it out, it went not to her local registrar or the State Board of Elections, but instead back to the Republican Party.

David Mills, Executive Director of the Democratic Party of Virginia said that a similar flyer they're mailing out also has the application coming back to their state headquarters.

Mills said that the business reply envelopes they use can't be assigned to a third party, so the envelopes return to their headquarters, and each day are hand delivered to the State Board of Elections.

He said that the applications are not opened, and remain sealed. Baldwin feels like this process creates a middle man.

In a statement released to CBS 6, the State Republican Party said, "This is a common tool used by both Republicans and Democrats to help expand voter participation."

Both parties get their addresses, from the State Board of Elections, which can provide the public record information.

If you get an application from either party and want to use but are uncomfortable sending it back in their envelope, Mills says, simply use your own envelope to send the application back to your registrar's office.