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USPS urges jurisdictions to advise voters to request mail-in ballots no less than 15 days before election

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The United States Postal Service is advising local jurisdictions that their voters should request mail-in ballots no later than 15 days before Election Day.

“We recommend that jurisdictions immediately communicate and advise voters to request ballots at the earliest point allowable but no later than 15 days prior to election date,” USPS told FOX via email. “The Postal Service also recommends that voters contact local election officials for information about deadlines.”

Vote.org, a non-profit voting registration organization, details absentee ballot application deadlines and voter absentee ballot deadlines for each state.

States have varying deadlines for when absentee ballot registration needs to be completed, as well as when ballots need to be postmarked or received. The organization also provides directory information for users to determine if there have been changes made to voting policy in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Voters must use First-Class Mail or an expedited level of service to return their completed ballots,“ USPS said. “Customers who opt to vote through the U.S. Mail must understand their local jurisdiction’s requirements for timely submission of absentee ballots, including postmarking requirements.”

While absentee voting had been an option available in previous elections, the current coronavirus pandemic will likely push many registered voters cast their ballots by mail in 2020.

President Donald Trump, who is seeking reelection in 2020, has previously cast doubt over the legitimacy of the mail-in voting system.

In May, Twitter highlighted that Trump claimed in a tweet, without evidence, that there would be rampant voter fraud in the 2020 election after California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the state would be expanding its mail-in voting efforts due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Twitter pointed out that experts had noted that mail-in voting is “rarely linked” to voter fraud. A fact-check piece published in May from the Associated Press highlights how voting fraud is rare, pointing out that the president himself cast an absentee ballot for the Florida primary in March. So have many other members of his administration.

Vice President Mike Pence and a half-dozen other senior advisers to Trump have repeatedly voted by mail, according to election records obtained by The Associated Press.

RELATED: Trump rails against mail voting, but he and his aides have repeatedly done it themselves

It’s true that some election studies have shown a slightly higher incidence of mail-in voting fraud compared with in-person voting, but the overall risk is considered by experts to be extremely low. The Brennan Center for Justice said in 2017 the risk of voting fraud is 0.00004% to 0.0009%.

The Associated Press contributed to this story. This story has been updated to reflect an error in the opening paragraph that stated the USPS had been advising jurisdictions that voters send in their mail-in ballots no later than 15 days before election day. 

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