Colorado Has Settled Its Lawsuit Against The Postal Service. Here’s What That Means For Election Mailers

September 18, 2020
Postal Service States LawsuitPostal Service States LawsuitNati Harnik/AP Photo
In this Aug. 18, 2020, file photo, mail delivery vehicles are parked outside a post office in Boys Town, Neb.

Colorado has reached an agreement with the United States Postal Service following a lawsuit filed last week over election flyers.

The settlement allows Colorado election officials to review any USPS materials related to voting, including TV, radio and online outreach. If the state determines the materials could confuse Coloradans, it has the right to temporarily block their release and request a court review. 

The agreement comes after the state sued in response to election mailers that the Postal Service recently delivered nationwide. Colorado officials called them inaccurate and misleading.

Earlier this week, Secretary of State Jena Griswold said she would ask the Postal Service to pay for a new election mailer that outlines the state's specific guidelines. Instead, she dropped that request in favor of the ability to review materials before they're sent out nationwide.

“I am pleased with the settlement we reached today with the U.S. Postal Service,” Griswold said in a press release. “Voters deserve accurate election information. The terms of the settlement mandate that all reasonable effort be taken to remove all undelivered misleading mailers from the mail stream, and it requires collaboration between the Colorado Department of State and the USPS to make sure all future Postal Service communication includes correct information.” 

How To Vote In Colorado

The Postal Service also agreed to collect and destroy the mass-produced election mailers that have yet to be distributed in Colorado. Gregory Graves, a vice president of operations for USPS, said 75 percent of the mailers were already delivered to households in the state. 

Griswold and Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser said the flyers contained two pieces of misinformation that could confuse Colorado voters.

“The first is that they urge Coloradans to request a mail ballot or an absentee ballot 15 days before election,” Griswold recently told Colorado Matters. “You don't have to do that in Colorado. You just have to register to vote and you're sent a mail ballot. The second piece of misinformation had to do with when Coloradans had to return the ballot through the mail. The USPS suggested seven days before Election Day, and the state of Colorado actually suggests eight days before Election Day.”

This isn’t Colorado’s only court victory over the USPS this week. On Thursday, a federal judge allowed the state to grant a nationwide injunction to the Postal Service, that would force it to immediately “halt and reserve its drastic operational changes.