HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Given the stakes involved, presidential election years inevitably bring scrutiny to the U.S. voting system.
This year, with President Trump casting doubt on the integrity of mail-in ballots, the back-and-forth is especially heated.
And, there are outside groups all over the map, some committed to confusing voters with misinformation, others pledging to fight fraud and some trying to assist voters amid the pandemic.
News 19 received a number of calls from viewers telling us they received a notice that tells the recipient “our records show that you’re not currently registered to vote.” The problem is, News 19 has heard from both residents who are in fact registered but still got the notice – and from people who received the notice addressed to a long-deceased family member.
The mailers include a voter registration application with the person’s name and address. The mailer includes reference to the website alvotes.org, which is similar sounding but not affiliated with Alabama’s official alabamavotes.gov.
Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill advised voters today to use the state’s website for voting information and to disregard information mailed by the group, Election Mail Service, listed out of Austin, Texas.
Merrill said he contacted the group, and wrote in part, “The letter refers voters to a website www.alvotes.org that is not our site, has a contact number for a help desk that is not part of our office and has an incorrect zip code for our mailing address. This erroneous information is confusing voters and unnecessarily complicating the electoral process before a major election.”
News 19 called the number on the form, left a message and later spoke with a spokesman for the group Civitech, which describes itself as a private, public benefit corporation that advocates for voter registration and civic engagement. Its website says it uses available public records to try and contact would-be voters and seeks to work with state elections officials.
News 19 received this statement Thursday evening, describing the group’s efforts and apologizing for any confusion or inconvenience.
Statement attributed to Election Mail Service:
“We are a logistics vendor supporting ALVotes.org. We are helping hundreds of thousands of people register to vote. While we make every effort to ensure people get accurate information, there are a few instances where someone might receive information that is out of date because of errors in the public records. We sincerely apologize for any confusion or inconvenience this may have caused. All mail that has been sent included a helpline and support email in case people have any questions, and we are happy to assist anyone with the registration process. We are in communication with the Alabama Secretary of State Office and are working to make sure voters get the information they need to vote in this election.”
To check your voter registration, Alabama voters can go to myinfo.alabamavotes.gov.