BEAUFORT — A voter advocacy group has mailed invalid absentee ballot request forms to North Carolina voters, and officials with the Carteret County Board of Elections warn some area voters were recipients.
In a Wednesday release, the N.C. State Board of Elections said it was aware the group, The Center for Voter Information in Washington, D.C., had mailed pre-filled absentee ballot request forms. The state has instructed county elections officials not to process the forms if returned by voters.
“A state law passed last year prohibits election officials from accepting absentee ballot request forms pre-filled ‘partially or in whole,’” the state said in its release.
CVI, in a Wednesday release of its own, said it would send new, blank applications to “prospective” North Carolina voters.
“As a convenience, CVI had filled out the names and addresses of the 80,000 North Carolina residents, as is common and legal in most states. However, the new state law in North Carolina is poorly worded,” CVI said in the release. “…CVI believed that it was complying with the new law, and had received written assurances from the state regarding its mailing.”
Carteret County BOE officials confirmed Wednesday the state believes 305 county voters will receive or have received the pre-filled mailings from CVI.
“We cannot process those, but what we’re going to do is send a letter to that address with a correct (request form),” County BOE Deputy Director Margot Burke said Thursday.
Elections officials are encouraging anyone interested in requesting an absentee ballot to download it directly from the SBOE or Carteret County BOE’s website at the link https://s3.amazonaws.com/dl.ncsbe.gov/Forms/NCAbsenteeBallotRequestForm.pdf.
The deadline in North Carolina to request an absentee-by-mail ballot for the November election is Tuesday, Oct. 27.
Absentee ballots are on the radar of many elections officials as states across the country look at polling place and election safety amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Ms. Burke said the Carteret County office is expecting a high number of requests for mail-in ballots, and as of Thursday has already received more than 100 such applications.
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