The forms are legitimate and not a scam.
Last week, millions of people across the state received a mailing from the Center for Voter Information that contained an absentee voter application form and a prepaid, preaddressed envelope to return the form.
Unfortunately, the non-profit organization’s efforts have generated concerns about voter fraud and voter privacy. The City put out a statement on social media on Friday explaining that the mailing did not come from the Virginia Beach Department of Elections and Voter Registration and that the department has no affiliation with the Center for Voter Information, however, the City has continued to receive questions about this issue and is providing additional clarification.
“The concern amongst local residents is legitimate and may stem from reports of errors on the preaddressed envelopes sent by the Center for Voter Information in several areas of the state,” said Virginia Beach General Registrar Donna Patterson. “With heightened concerns about fraud surrounding the 2020 election, we want to reassure those who received the mailings that this is not a scam.”
“I cannot speak for the Center for Voter Information, but as it relates to the integrity of the voting process in Virginia Beach, we take it very seriously and felt compelled to clarify the situation,” said Patterson. “My office is unaware of any address errors on the mailing that came to Virginia Beach residents. The correct return address for absentee applications in Virginia Beach is: Voter Registration & Elections, PO Box 6247, Virginia Beach, VA 23456. The form is the correct Vote by Mail Application for Virginia and anyone who has already mailed the form may rest assured that our office will process their request for a ballot for the Nov. 3 General Election. We do advise that voters verify the pre-filled information in the mailer before sending it in, or, even better, apply for an absentee ballot directly on the state website at vote.virginia.gov.”
Several citizens have also inquired about how the third-party organization received their information.
The Virginia Department of Elections outlines data available for sale and what individuals and organizations are eligible to purchase it here. The Department of Elections issued a statement about the incident on Thursday, Aug. 6. The Center for Voter Information also put out a statement available here.
“As a non-profit which promotes voter participation and registration,” explained Patterson, “The Center for Voter Information may purchase voter information from the Virginia Department of Elections.”
Voters are encouraged to check their voter registration record online. Voters who have submitted a request for a mail ballot in November do not need to submit another request. In person voting begins and ballots will be sent starting Friday, Sept. 18.
If you have any questions, you may contact the Virginia Department of Elections at email@example.com or (804) 864-8901.