David Palus is a registered Democrat who hasn’t lived in Ohio for over 35 years.
This week, he received paperwork that said “absentee ballot request form enclosed,” sent from a Columbus address to his Palm Springs home.
“Everyone’s concerned about fraud and people voting more than once. And here I’ve gone through eight elections, presidential elections, since I left the state. I’ve never gotten anything like this and now all of the sudden I got it,” said Palus.
The non-partisan group Common Cause says this mail isn’t a form of voter fraud because it’s not an official ballot from an election’s office.
Instead, it’s a voter application sent by a political campaign to try to get voters to register for their party.
“Parties, on both sides, are trying to hit as many voters as they possibly can to get everyone registered to vote because they want to maximize turnout for their political party,” said Jonathan Mehta Stein, Executive Director of Common Cause.
The Riverside County Registrar of Voters says this type of mail is common to receive around elections, and campaigns often buy voter data to send registration cards to potential voters.
But, it’s required by law that voters cast a ballot in the area they consider their permanent address.
Voters may also register to vote in two different areas, but voting twice is a crime.
“There are systems in place to make sure that people don’t vote twice. If they’re given the opportunity to, they should absolutely not take it because they’ll be committing a felony,” said Mehta Stein.
Riverside County recommends getting rid of paperwork that doesn’t apply to you or your registered party, and confirming your information with them directly by phone or email.
“I would say shred it. That would be my number one. If you receive things that you’re unsure about that are in regards to your voter registration, we would direct them to call our main line. We can tell them what they’re registered for here in our county if they live here, and then go from there,” said Candice Gordon, spokesperson for the Riverside County Registrar of Voters.
Riverside County will send absentee ballots by mail on Oct. 5. They must be postmarked on or before Nov. 3 to be counted for this election.