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Unsolicited voter registration letters confuse Kentucky voters

Worried Kentuckians flooded phone lines to local and state elections offices after unsolicited voter registration letters arrived in their mailboxes.

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Kentucky elections officials are concerned that half million mailers sent out by a group claiming to boost voter registration, is doing more harm than good.

At a time of change due to the pandemic and voters being more passionate than ever to go to the polls, state election officials say they do not need confusion they claim is being created by the Center for Voter Information. (CVI)

Nore Ghibaudy is the spokesperson for the Jefferson County Clerk’s Office and had been hearing about these mailings all week.

"She said that we are all registered to vote, why are we getting this?” said Ghibaudy. “I said, 'We didn't send this, this has been sent by an organization in Washington D.C.'”

What Nore Ghibaudy's friend received was a letter explaining that someone at the residence had not registered to vote, paperwork to fill out and a return envelope sending the registration to the clerk's office.

A media contact at the Center for Voter Information explained that they sent out 500,000 envelopes, their effort focuses on multiple states and costs tens of millions of dollars. 

They insist that their goal is to boost voter registration and turnout and this is their biggest effort yet.

CVI CEO Tom Lopach released a statement reading, in part,

“With COVID-19 impacting elections, we have a responsibility to do all we can to safely increase voter turnout and engagement during this uncertain time. It is vital to keep voters safe and to bring democracy to eligible voters' doorsteps."

"Mail-based voter registration and voting is reliable, safe and effective, and we are ensuring voters have the tools necessary to make their voices heard."

However, Kentucky's Board of Elections Executive Director, Jared Dearing, says he's been complaining years about the organization and what he calls confusing mailers that he claims is doing "real damage to our election systems".

“The problem isn't that this is a malicious mailer,” said Dearing. “The problem is, effectively, they're sending it out to a very broad group of individuals some of whom are already registered and they're creating confusion in the electorate itself.”

Dearing said that his office received hundreds of telephone calls on Thursday.

“Just yesterday it has effectively shut our office. Our phone lines over the last week that these letters have gone out," Dearing said.

CVI has made headlines before.

 In August they released a statement following reports that mailers were sent with return envelopes including the wrong return addresses.

Local election officials recommend that if you get one of the letters to toss it in the trash and instead go to Go Vote KY for voter information or to request an absentee ballot.

For more information on requesting an absentee ballot, click here.

►Contact Political Editor Chris Williams at cwilliams@whas11.com. Follow him on Twitter (@chriswnews) and Facebook. 

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