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Return to sender: Postal Service sends wrong info to Utahns about mail voting

The gaffe comes as the USPS has been under fire for not doing all it can to help in the upcoming election.
Image: Leslie Tate drops off her ballot in Cottonwood Heights, during the Super Tuesday primary vote in Salt Lake City.
Leslie Tate drops off her ballot in Cottonwood Heights, during the Super Tuesday primary vote in Salt Lake City.Jeffrey D. Allred / AP file

SALT LAKE CITY — State officials in Utah say the U.S. Postal Service has sent erroneous information to Utah voters about the upcoming election, decreasing public confidence in the service’s ability to handle ballots this year.

The office of Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox said the Postal Service mailed a postcard to homes across the state last week urging voters “to request your mail-in ballot ... at least 15 days before Election Day,” The Salt Lake Tribune reported.

“All active registered voters in Utah automatically receive their ballots in the mail. Individuals do not need to request a mail-in ballot separately if they have previously registered to vote,” Cox said, arguing that the postcard’s information did not apply in Utah.

Residents have multiple options to cast their vote for the Nov. 3 general election including through the mail, by depositing their ballot at special drop boxes, at an in-person early voting location or at an in-person or drive-up voting center on Election Day.

State officials have encouraged methods other than voting on Election Day to reduce crowds and limit the risk of spreading COVID-19.

The Postal Service has also urged voters to return by-mail ballots a week before Election Day to help ensure they arrive on time but that is more important in other states. Officials note that the ballots must be received in Utah only sometime before the official canvass two weeks after Election Day.

County clerks are required to mail ballots to all active registered voters the week of Oct. 13. Voters will then have until 5 p.m. on Oct. 23 to register to vote and automatically receive a mail ballot.

“We encourage voters to plan ahead by going to to check their registration status, register to vote, or update their address,” Cox’s office said in a statement.