Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold on Saturday filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) alleging that the agency sent postcards to every voter containing false information about the state’s mail-in voting process and policies. The card tells voters to request an absentee ballot more than two weeks before the election and to make sure it is mailed at least a week in advance of election day. But under Colorado’s system of universal mail-in voting, all voters are automatically send a ballot which they can either mail or return in-person at a polling center or drop-box location.
Attorney General Phil Weiser provided a screenshot of the postcard, urging the court to stop voters from receiving the “incorrect statement.”
Unless the court stops the #USPS, Colorado voters are expected to receive this incorrect statement, telling them that they need to request an absentee ballot to vote. That is false. Your ballot will be mailed to you. And even if not, you can still vote at a polling center. pic.twitter.com/tnew9roZik
— Phil Weiser (@pweiser) September 12, 2020
After learning about the misleading mailers earlier in the week, Colorado election officials asked USPS not to send out the documents — which were never approved by state election officials to begin with — but the request was “flat out refused” in an unconstitutional effort to confuse voters and suppress turnout, the lawsuit claimed.
When we asked @USPS not to send the postcard with misinformation to voters in Colorado they flat out refused
— Jena Griswold (@JenaGriswold) September 12, 2020
“These false statements will disenfranchise Colorado voters, including its uniform military and overseas voters; mislead them about Colorado’s election procedures; infringe Colorado’s Constitutional rights to conduct its elections; and interfere with the Secretary of State’s ability to oversee Colorado elections,” the complaint reads. “These false statements will confuse Colorado voters, likely causing otherwise-eligible voters to wrongly believe that they may not participate in the upcoming election. This attempt at voter suppression violates the United States Constitution and federal statutes and must be stopped immediately.”
The lawsuit — filed in U.S. District Court in Denver against Postmaster General Louis DeJoy and Regional Postmasters Samarn Reed and Chris Yazzie — contends that such deceptive tactics violate the “Times, Places and Manner” portion of the Constitution’s Election Clause as well as the state’s right to control its own elections under the Tenth Amendment.
The suit seeks to have the court issue an injunction prohibiting USPS from continuing to deliver any additional mailers within the state.
“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,” Griswold said in a statement Saturday. “As the Chief Election Official of the state of Colorado, it’s my job to try to stop misinformation and any unnecessary election confusion. 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.”
Griswold made headlines earlier in the week when she threatened to refer President Donald Trump to Weiser’s office for criminal prosecution over his recent statements encouraging his supporters to vote by mail and in-person, which is a felony.
Read the full lawsuit below.
[Image via Michael A. McCoy/Getty Images]
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