Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold on Saturday filed a federal lawsuit against Postmaster General Louis DeJoy and other top U.S. Postal Service officials for sending out mailers containing information that could mislead and disenfranchise voters.
"These false statements will confuse Colorado voters, likely causing otherwise-eligible voters to wrongly believe that they may not participate in the upcoming election," reads the complaint (pdf), which was filed with the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado. "This attempt at voter suppression violates the United States Constitution and federal statutes and must be stopped immediately."
Griswold said in a statement that she first learned just two days ago that the postcards would be sent to households across the U.S., and voters have already begun receiving them in the mail. While the postcard contains broad advice that could be applicable to voters in some states, Griswold noted that the mailer's specific recommendation that voters request a mail-in ballot "at least 15 days before Election Day" could confuse Coloradans.
"In Colorado, every registered voter is sent a ballot without having to make a request and voters are urged to return ballots by mail sooner than seven days before the election. My office asked USPS officials to delay or not send the mailer in Colorado, but they refused to commit to that," said Griswold. Voters in states with similar vote-by-mail, such as California and Washington, could also be misled by the postcard's recommendations.
"It's my job to try to stop misinformation and any unnecessary election confusion," Griswold continued. "The importance of this election, combined with the fact it is being held amidst a national pandemic, further heightens the need to provide correct voting information to Coloradans. That is why I am filing a lawsuit against the USPS to cease this mailer and help shield Colorado voters from this misinformation."
I just found out the @USPS is sending this postcard to every household and PO Box in the nation. For states like Colorado where we send ballots to all voters, the information is not just confusing, it’s WRONG. (Thread) pic.twitter.com/RoTTeJRJVl
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— Jena Griswold (@JenaGriswold) September 12, 2020
Griswold told the New York Times that after she filed her suit, secretaries of state from five other states contacted her office requesting copies of the filing so they could also consider suing DeJoy over the mailers, which are expected to be delivered to over 160 million U.S. addresses less than two months ahead of the November election.
Linda Lamone, Maryland's top election official, said she is trying to stop the USPS from sending the postcard to residents of her state "because it's only going to cause mass confusion."
"I'm very disappointed that the national Postal Service would do that," said Lamone. "My colleagues around the country are infuriated, as we all should be."