Editorial: Vote as usual; don’t be confused by U.S. Postal Service mailer

Island County ballots will be in the mail Oct. 14.

Island County Auditor Sheilah Crider joined election officials across the nation in warning their constituents about false information on postcards the U.S. Postal Service is putting in every mailbox in the nation.

The postcards are an expensive and bungled attempt by the USPS to reassure voters about mail-in voting. People who run elections, from Island County’s Republican auditor to Colorado’s Democratic secretary of state — who filed a lawsuit to stop the distribution of the postcards — voiced concerns about the postcards

Crider advises residents to ignore a couple of the topics on the postcards. The first is a recommendation that people request a ballot 15 days before Election Day. It’s unnecessary since every registered voter in the state is automatically mailed a ballot at least 18 days before the election.

Island County ballots will be in the mail Oct. 14.

Also, the postcards advise people to affix first-class stamps. But in Washington, ballots come with prepaid postage. Also, there are drop boxes throughout the county.

In a news release, Crider said she is worried that the postcards will cause confusion. The mailers weren’t vetted with Washington state election officials, she said, who first found out about them when they appeared in mailboxes Sept. 11.

Of course, this blunder comes at a time when the USPS has been highly politicized after President Trump appointed one of his mega-donors, Louis DeJoy, to be postmaster general.

Since then, things have gone postal. It got so bad that lawmakers felt the need to craft a bipartisan bill that not only injects $25 billion in emergency funding into the USPS but also prevents the postmaster from doing things like removing sorting machines, prohibiting overtime or treating ballots as anything less than first-class mail. The bill passed the House by a wide margin but is likely dead on arrival in the Senate.

At the same time, President Trump has been trying to sow doubt about the integrity of mail-in ballots.

Yet the bottom line for Island County voters is that they shouldn’t change the way they vote, and they also shouldn’t fret that their ballot won’t be counted. County elections officials and local postmasters said all ballots will be counted as long as they are placed in a mailbox during the last pickup on Election Day or in drop-off boxes before the polls close.

And as the auditor pointed out, voters in the state have a tool to ensure their ballots arrive in the mailbox, are returned and are counted. Each voter can verify his or her own registration and ballot information through VoteWA.gov

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