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Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill backs USPS election mailers

A release from Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill’s office advised that Merrill spoke via video conference with Postmaster General of the United States Louis DeJoy on Thursday.

The call reportedly was between the postmaster general and members of the National Association of Secretaries of State, of which Merrill is a leader.

DeJoy on Thursday “confirmed that election mail would be the Postal Service’s top priority between now and Election Day,” according to Merrill’s office.

Alabama’s secretary of state reportedly thanked the USPS “for their increased communication and awareness surrounding the mail-in process, reiterated the importance of keeping Americans armed with accurate, up-to-date, and complete information.”

In a statement, Merrill specifically applauded mailers sent out nationwide by the USPS about voting by mail, whether that be absentee voting by mail in Alabama or different forms in other states.

The mailers are identical nationwide, intended to only be general information on how the Postal Service handles election mail and not taking into account different election procedures and laws from state-to-state. This has been criticized by officials in certain states. Colorado has even gotten a court to block the USPS from distributing them in that state for the time being.

The mailers say voters should “request your mail in ballot… at least 15 days before Election Day.” This is intended to remind voters not to wait until the last minute to turn their applications or ballots in, because the USPS wants ballots to be turned in on time to be counted.

The Postal Service has defended the mailers from criticism in a recent statement.

“Our mail-piece provides general, all-purpose guidance on the use of the mail, and not guidance on state election rules,” USPS spokesman Dave Partenheimer said. “The mail-piece … contains a single set of simple recommendations for voters throughout the nation, regardless of where they live and where they vote. At the same time, we are aware that each state has its own specific rules, deadlines and requirements, and the mail-piece acknowledges that fact.”

In his statement, Merrill backed the USPS on the issue.

“The mailers that have recently been sent to homes across America are great reminders of the importance of early participation in absentee voting,” Merrill commented. “Anyone who is concerned about voting in-person on Election Day should apply today for their absentee ballot and return it as soon as possible.”

DeJoy on Thursday also reportedly stressed the importance of returning applications and ballots early.

Find official information on how the USPS handles election mail here.

For questions about voting in Alabama, click here.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

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