WASHINGTON, Sept 14 (Reuters) – The U.S. Postal Service’s voter outreach efforts drew a growing backlash on Monday as election officials in several states warned voters that the beleaguered agency was providing inaccurate information on how to vote in the Nov. 3 election.

The statement from officials in West Virginia, Maryland, Utah and Washington came after a federal judge in Colorado on Saturday ordered the postal service to stop delivery of postcards that he said contained “false or misleading information” about how to vote by mail.

The Postal Service says it’s trying to comply with the order, even though most of those postcards in Colorado have already been delivered. It has asked U.S. Judge William Martinez to overturn his decision.

“The intent of the mailing is to send a single set of recommendations that provide general guidance to allow voters who choose to vote by mail to be successful, regardless of where they live or where they vote,” spokeswoman Martha Johnson said.

The controversy comes after cost-saving measures ordered by new Postmaster General Louis DeJoy led to widespread mail delays in August, leading some to question whether their ballots would be properly processed. In the face of widespread public outrage, DeJoy suspended the changes.

The postcards in question were mailed nationwide last week, telling voters to request a ballot by mail at least 15 days before the election.

However, several states – Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Utah, Hawaii and California – automatically mailed ballots to all registered voters.

Election officials in Washington and Utah told voters they did not need to apply for a ballot.

In Colorado, the secretary of state’s office plans to automatically call to explain that Postal Service mailings contain inaccurate information, spokesman Steve Hurlbert said.

Officials in Maryland and West Virginia also said the Postal Service’s proposed deadlines conflicted with their state laws.

By Andy Sullivan

2020-09-14

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