Center for Voter Information Mails Blank Absentee Ballot Forms to 80,000 North Carolina Residents

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WASHINGTON, DC – The non-profit and non-partisan Center for Voter Information (CVI) announced today that it is mailing blank absentee-ballot request forms to 80,000 North Carolina residents. The mail recipients previously had received request forms that CVI had partially filled out with the recipient’s name and address. CVI is sending out the new mailings voluntarily, to ensure maximum voter participation in the state.

In a press release today, the North Carolina State Board of Elections stated that, due to a new state law, civic-engagement groups such as CVI cannot send ballot request forms “with voters’ information already filled out on the forms.” Although CVI had previously shared samples of the mail pieces with state election officials, CVI decided today to send a fresh batch of blank absentee forms to prospective voters, in an abundance of caution.

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 and states that a request for absentee ballots is not valid if the “completed written request is completed, partially or in whole…” CVI believed that it was complying with the new law, and had received written assurances from the state regarding its mailing. 

CVI and its partner group, the Voter Participation Center (VPC), mail registration applications to unregistered individuals, and absentee-ballot request forms to registered individuals, along with pre-addressed envelopes to make it easy to bring democracy to the doorstep of so many people. Since 2003, the organizations have helped register more than 4.6 million voters nationally.

As millions of Americans self-isolate because of the coronavirus pandemic, mail-based voter registration and vote-by-mail efforts have never been more important. CVI and VPC run the nation’s largest mail-based voter registration program, and their work is crucial today.