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Printing error on mailer leads to voter confusion

Posted at 1:50 PM, Aug 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-14 13:50:28-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Samantha Thompson is one of the thousands of Virginians who received a confusing absentee ballot application in the mail. The mailer arrived from the Center for Voter Information, a nonprofit organization that registers voters.

"I felt like it was a hoax because on mine, it had a middle initial and I don't have a middle name. So I just kind of dismissed it," Thompson said.

Thompson was also alarmed because the absentee ballot applications with reply envelopes were all addressed to the registrar's office in the wrong jurisdiction.

That prompted her to contact the Virginia State Board of Elections to find out if the mailer was legitimate.

The group's printing vendor has apologized for the confusion, calling the mailing debacle their mistake.

The error in printing impacted nearly half a million Virginians when someone incorrectly aligned a spreadsheet matching voters with their local election office and failed to send the spreadsheet to the Center for Voter Information for review.

"You have Richmond City and Richmond County," Thompson said. "And so they kind of confused things. And that kind of sent people in a tizzy."

In response to the confusion, the printing company's president released a statement.

"We are keenly aware of the seriousness of this mistake, we added to the burden already felt by local election boards and made their job significantly harder," it read. "Worse, this error created confusion for voters who are trying to exercise their right to vote from home safely and conveniently."

For more information about voting by mail in Virginia or to apply for a ballot, click here.