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Voter party identified on outside of ballots

Ballot envelopes showing party affiliation were for only Florida's primary elections, not for the upcoming general election.

Ballot envelopes showing party affiliation were for only Florida's primary elections, not for the upcoming general election.An unprecedented number of Americans are voting by mail in the upcoming general elections in the United States due to the pandemic.

Concern over ballot envelopes grew on social media after a Palm Beach County, Florida, voter widely circulated a video, which showed the envelope the voter received to mail back her vote-by-mail ballot for the Aug. 18 primary contest. The voter said that the envelope had a barcode that included the letter “R.” She then showed viewers that her brother, a registered Democrat, had received an envelope with a barcode that included the letter “D.”

This raised concerns, and some suggest that the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) could use the information to suppress votes from a particular party. According to the Florida Department of State, the ballots shown in the posts are for the Florida primary, not the general election on Nov. 3. Florida is a closed primary state. Only voters who are registered members of political parties may vote for respective party candidates or nominees for an office in a primary election, including a presidential preference primary election. Several voting experts also said that they are not aware of those labels being used in general elections.

Even the statement from the supervisor’s office, portions of which were shared on Twitter, noted, all ballots for the general election in November will look the same, as voters can vote for whomever they would like. There would be no way to tell the party affiliation of a voter based on their vote-by-mail envelope for the general election.

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