Elvis Makes A Comeback: Some Voter Cards Re-sent
Part of an annual voter mailing from the Iowa Secretary of State's office has been re-sent. Errors in a postal bar code were causing some cards to incorrectly get the Elvis treatment -- return to sender, address unknown.
Under the 1993 Motor Voter law, states are required to compare the post office's National Change of Address (NCOA) list to the voter files. If people have moved but not re-registered, cards are sent to both their old and new addresses. The return address on the card is the voter's county auditor. If a card mailed to the voter's new address gets Elvised (return to sender), the voter is placed on an inactive status and would have to show ID or re-register before voting.
Iowa started mailing cards in mid-April this year. Soon after the cards hit the mail,
"we found out that there was a printing error on some of the moved within county cards mailed to the voter's new address," said Sarah Reisetter of the secretary of state's office. "The barcode printed underneath the delivery address on these cards by the printer was actually the barcode for the voter's old address."
Reisetter said cards mailed to the voter's old address and to addresses outside the county where the voters were registered were correct.
"When we discovered the problem, the printer immediately halted printing any more within county move cards," said Reisetter. "Many of the post offices manually sorted the cards and delivered them to the new address printed on the card despite the barcoding problem, however some of the cards were returned to the county commissioners as undeliverable."
Reisetter said printing was halted, and a second set of cards were sent to the new, moved within county addresses. The re-sent cards are a distinctive yellow, rather than white like the original mailing. "We did not want voters inactivated in error due to this issue," she said, adding, "Needless to say, I am now able to read postal barcodes!"