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Got (election) mail? This absentee ballot application with pre-paid postage is legitimate

The Center for Voter Information is sending certain registered voters pre-paid postage with absentee ballot applications.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Election Day is two months away, and North Carolina will start sending out mail-in ballots this Friday, Sept. 4. To get one, registered voters must contact the NC Board of Elections (BoE) or fill out an online application and wait the estimated seven-to-10 days to receive the ballot in the mail. 

RELATED: Easy steps to register to vote in North Carolina

What if there were an easier process (that'll save a stamp)?

VERIFY QUESTION

Good Morning Show viewer Richard Swift asked WFMY News 2's Meghann Mollerus to VERIFY a mailer he received from the Center for Voter Information. Inside was an explanation about the organization and an absentee ballot request form (that appeared identical to the one available on the NC BoE website).  The mailer included a pre-addressed envelope to Swift's local BoE and pre-paid postage. Swift asked if the form is legitimate, and if so, why he--but not his wife--received one.

Credit: WFMY via Richard Swift

VERIFY SOURCES

VERIFY PROCESS

The Center for Voter Information website explains the organization is a non-profit 501(c)(4), non-partisan and non-governmental organization that has helped millions of Americans register to vote. It sends out voter registration and absentee ballot applications to eligible voters across the country. The ballot applications are tailored to each state.

The organization does not explain how it selects registered voters to receive the mailers, but voter information is public record. That is likely why Swift's envelope was already addressed to his county BoE P.O. Box.

Guilford County BoE Director Charlie Collicutt explained, "They (Center for Voter Information) are a legitimate organization. The form is an official document that can be used to request a by-mail ballot. As long as the form comes blank, with nothing pre-filled, and the voter mails in the form themselves, it will be a valid request for a ballot."

As for why Swift received an application, but his wife did not, Collicutt did not know the answer but said their situation is not unique.

The NC BoE plans to roll out an absentee ballot portal on Sept. 1 that could allow voters to submit their ballot request applications online.

NC voters do not need an "excuse" to vote absentee, but voters must submit the request. A few states are sending absentee ballots to all registered voters, but NC is not among them.

RELATED: NC is the first state to mail out absentee ballots. How to request one

VERIFY CONCLUSION

Yes, a blank absentee ballot request form from the Center for Voter Information is a legitimate means of applying for an absentee ballot.

For absentee ballot votes to count, the voter must turn in the ballot to his or her local BoE no later than 5 p.m. on Election Day. The NC BoE explains absentee ballots received after 5 p.m. on Election Day will be counted only if they are postmarked on or before Election Day and received by mail no later than 5 p.m. Nov. 6.

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RELATED: One-on-one: Cal Cunningham battles to overtake US Senate seat, flip majority in contentious race

Do you have a VERIFY inquiry? Submit a post, screen shot or selfie video to Meghann Mollerus via:

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Twitter: @MeghannMollerus