Virginia election official urges voters not to mail in absentee ballots amid delivery concerns
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The top Virginia election official has urged voters not to use mail-in ballots amid security concerns.

Richmond General Registrar Keith Balmer said residents intending to vote during next week’s presidential primary should consider alternatives to mailing in absentee ballots amid reports of mail delivery problems.

“I understand that these issues extend beyond mere inconvenience; they represent a fundamental threat to our democracy,” Balmer said during a town hall with Commonwealth Attorney Colette McEachin and Congresswoman Jennifer McClellan last week.

Among the remarks, Balmer offered practical solutions to ensure Richmond voters can cast ballots with confidence that they will be counted in the election.

“I want to start by acknowledging the frustrations shared by many of you regarding the reliability of our mail service,” Balmer continued. “From critical documents like absentee ballots to essential bills and important correspondences, the failure to deliver has undoubtedly caused inconvenience and anxiety among our community members.”

He said, “It’s imperative that we safeguard our democratic process by USPS’s delivery failures. I urge all voters who have requested or received an absentee ballot for the current Presidential Primary to consider alternative methods of submission.”

To avoid voter disenfranchisement, Balmer recommended prospective voters to utilize drop boxes around the city.

Election mail

The General Registrar of Richmond said residents intending to vote during next week’s presidential primary should consider alternatives to mailing in absentee ballots. (iStock)

“By directly submitting your ballot to these drop boxes, you can ensure that your vote is securely and promptly delivered to my office,” he said.

The city’s Office of Elections chief also said anyone worried that a ballot may not reach its destination in time can visit an early voting center or cast a provisional ballot on March 5, the day of the primary.

Trump, Haley campaign signs

The Democratic and Republican presidential primaries are held in Virginia on Tuesday, March 5. Republicans can choose between Republican presidential candidates Nikki Haley and former President Trump. (REUTERS/Reba Saldanha/File Photo)

According to the Virginia Department of Elections, data showed that 1-in-3 of the roughly 2.5 million Virginians who voted in statewide elections in 2023 voted by absentee ballot, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported.

The U.S. Postal Service told The Associated Press in a statement that it is committed to the “secure, timely” delivery of mail and continues to work with officials to meet that goal.

The Virginia presidential primaries for the Democratic and Republican parties are held on Tuesday, March 5.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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