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Center for Voter Information
August 6, 2020

Statement on Virginia

The Center for Voter Information recently sent vote-by-mail applications to voters in Virginia, encouraging them to safely participate in democracy. We are aware that some of the mailers may have directed the return envelopes to the wrong election offices. The issue affects the following locations: Fairfax City and Fairfax County, Franklin City and Franklin County, Richmond City and Richmond County, and Roanoke City and Roanoke County. 

Approximately half a million applications sent to eligible voters in Virginia included incorrect information, and we are working diligently to address the issues. Mistakes in our programming are very rare, but we take them seriously, and our methods overall are extraordinarily effective. In fact, we have worked with our partner, the Voter Participation Center, to successfully generate nearly 900,000 vote-by-mail applications across the country, and helped more than 5 million people register to vote in our history. 

We know that voters are on high alert as the November election approaches, and we regret adding to any confusion. Please rest assured that we are working with local election officials in Virginia to re-direct the vote-by-mail applications to the proper locations, and will rectify any errors at our own expense.


Center for Voter Information

August 7, 2020

A Statement from Our Printer

Please see below a statement from Jonathan Shapiro, President and CEO of Smith-Edwards-Dunlap Company, the printing vendors for the Center for Voter Information, in reference to the errors in the vote-by-mail mailings sent to eligible voters in Virginia.
“We are the printing vendors for the Center for Voter Information, a non-partisan, non-profit organization whose mission is to help members of the Rising American Electorate — young people, people of color, and unmarried women — register and vote. In the course of our 10-year association with CVI we have helped to register and mobilize over 5 million people. We are incredibly proud of our work with them.
However, in a recent mailing for CVI in Virginia we made a major error in our printing. We sent voters in eight Virginia jurisdictions a vote-by-mail application with a reply envelope that was addressed to the wrong jurisdiction. This mistake occurred because we incorrectly aligned a spreadsheet that matched the voter with their local election office.
We did not send the spreadsheet to CVI for review, and our own internal proofing procedures failed to catch the mistake. The error was entirely ours.
We are keenly aware of the seriousness of this mistake. We added to the burden already felt by local election boards and made their jobs significantly harder. Worse, this error created confusion for voters who are trying to exercise their right to vote from home, safely and conveniently. And we violated the trust that CVI places in us as their print vendors.
This is not the level of work that SED and our partner, Quad Graphics, pride ourselves on. We have printed and mailed over 100 million vote-by-mail applications and voter registration applications without error and we are committed to the highest standards of quality control and excellence. In this mailing we fell far short of that goal. We apologize to CVI, to the staff at the affected local boards of election, and to the voters.
We have analyzed the root cause of this error and are taking steps to ensure that nothing like this can happen in future mailings.”