The Postal Service sent the mailer as part of a campaign to reassure voters of its ability to handle a surge in voting by mail as a result of the pandemic, and to quell criticism that its leaders are trying to sabotage voting by mail before the election. The mailer does not encourage voting by mail, though it does encourage those who opt to do so to send their ballots early.
But the information in the mailer is broad, and it does not account for differences in state rules, angering top elections officials in several jurisdictions. Places like Colorado, for instance, automatically send all voters mail-in ballots.
A spokesman for the Postal Service said in a statement that the mailer was intended to provide “general, all-purpose guidance on the use of the mail, and not guidance on state election rules.”
“We are aware that each state has its own specific rules, deadlines and requirements, and the mail-piece acknowledges that fact,” the spokesman, David A. Partenheimer, said, adding, “The Postal Service’s guidance remains that individuals need to understand their state’s rules and deadlines, and to plan ahead.”
As Mr. Trump has railed against mail-in voting and Mr. DeJoy has come under fire for cost-cutting measures that have slowed mail delivery, the agency has begun an advertising campaign, including a television spot, intended to assuage concerns about its ability to process the anticipated surge in voting by mail. Some postal officials have cautioned against appearing to encourage the practice.
Some voters — including about 1,000 in Colorado, according to Ms. Griswold — started receiving the mailers in recent days. The mailer, which was sent to all 50 states and the District of Columbia, is set to be delivered to 161 million addresses to which the Postal Service delivers, according to a person familiar with the plans who insisted on anonymity to describe them. It encourages voters to request an absentee ballot at least 15 days before the election.