Locals receive unsolicited voter registration, absentee ballot forms

Written by on August 31, 2020

Locals receive unsolicited voter registration, absentee ballot forms

By K.C. Lopez

August 21, 2020

Residents across the Lehigh Valley are receiving election-related mail even though they did not request it.

As WLVR’s K.C. Lopez reports, Northampton County officials want voters to know the materials are not coming from them. 

In previous elections, organizations like the Voter Participation Center, Republican National Convention and the Center for Voter Information have sent voter registration and ballot applications to residents.

The Northampton County Elections Office says they would never send voters these forms without a request. 

Chief registrar Amy Cozze says the office has been inundated with calls from confused residents.

“We didn’t send them, we wouldn’t send unsolicited mailings and if they came to anybody who was deceased or no longer living in the county, our voter rolls are up to date. We would never issue a ballot to someone like that…”

And despite another rumor, Cozze says official ballots are not being mailed out either. Those are not yet available.

“They’re getting voter registration applications and ballot applications and they’re already registered or they already applied to vote so they’re confused. Did their application not go through, do they have to apply again? Do we have to re-register? So it was creating a lot of confusion for them…”

Cozze says confused voters have called with complaints about mail they’ve received with her office as a return address and in other cases, her name specifically. In some cases, these forms were already pre-filled out or addressed to deceased residents.

“…they thought they were coming from us and that there was some formal reason why we were sending them,” Cozze explains, “so we’re just trying to make it clear that we didn’t send them, we wouldn’t send unsolicited mailings and if they came to anybody who was deceased or no longer living in the county, our voter rolls are up to date. We would never issue a ballot to someone like that.”

The Elections Office wants to reassure voters; the county would never send these types of forms unless you requested one. But if you’ve already filled one out or want to use the forms that have been sent to you, they are legitimate documents.

“These applications are not fraudulent, these are real applications and they can be filled out and returned to our office,” Cozze says, “but it’s very clear why this would be confusing to someone who didn’t ask for it.”

Officials encourage those who did receive this type of mail to check for the “paid for by” acknowledgement to identify the sender and assure voters the county elections office is not affiliated with any organizations. Cozze tells PBS39 News Tonight that unsolicited mail like this has been sent by the Voter Participation Center, Republican National Convention and the Center for Voter Information.

“There’s a lot of independent organizations that have been sending these out,” Cozze says, “They’re legal and we will process them if they are sent to our office but — they’re not ballots, I think that rumor has been going around, that actual ballots were being sent. We haven’t received any in our office so I don’t know how true that is, but ballots aren’t even available yet so they’re certainly not being sent out.”

It’s important to know that voters can always request registration forms and mail-in ballot applications from the county’s Election Division directly.

Voters can request registration forms and mail-in ballot applications from the county’s Election Division directly. 

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