A mass email sent out by Chesterfield, Virginia State Senator with claims of fraudulent votes in the 2022 general elections have highlighted a frustrating phenomenon for Eastern Shore residents, what is their zip code?
The email reads “Virginia Senator Amanda Chase released a report today compiled by Jonathan Lareau, Founder of the watchdog nonprofit organization the Electoral Process Education Corporation, showing there were 15,419 ballots cast during early voting in the VA 2022 General Election, where the voters’ registered address on record were flagged as “Invalid” by a National Change of Address (NCOA) database check.”
The report cited in the email specifically cites Northampton County, claiming the lower Shore county had 895 absentee voters with an invalid address.
“This is more of an issue with how the Postal Service assigns addresses than anything to do with fraudulent voting,” said Northampton Registrar Terry Flynn. “According to the company that ran the data, TrueNCOA, an “invalid address” is an address not matched to the USPS database, which happens in rural areas.”
When someone with such an address is registered, the USPS database doesn’t recognize the address, so Registrars have to input it manually.
Flynn continued “For example, there are residents of Eastville that have a Cape Charles zip code, or people living in Jamesville that have Exmore as their address. This does not mean that their ballots were invalid, or the way that they voted them is invalid, or that they are somehow unqualified to cast that ballot. TrueNCOA identified 895 Northampton absentee voters with an invalid address. 714 of those voters voted in-person absentee, so they walked in our office, showed a form of ID, verified their address and voted on the machine. That’s roughly seven out of nine voters, so again something common for a rural area.” It would be interesting to run the same data on people who voted on Election Day and see how many had “invalid” addresses.”
“The Postal Service is responsible for processing, transporting and delivering Election Mail. The Postal Service does not design or address Election Mail, including ballots,” said Philip Bogenberger with the US Postal Service. “The ZIP Code system is designed to provide an efficient postal distribution and delivery network. ZIP Code assignments are, therefore, closely linked to factors such as mail volume, delivery area size, geographic location, and topography, but not necessarily to municipal or perceived community boundaries. In some instances, mail delivery is provided from a neighboring post office which can result in the use of a different last line (City, State, ZIP Code) from where the customer physically resides.”
Rural counties all across the country deal with the issue. Cape Charles post office delivers to Cape Charles, Eastville, Cheriton, Capeville & Townsend. The same is true for Exmore and Jamesville. Due to the above listed factors, Eastville, Cheriton, Capeville, Townsend and Jamesville Post Offices are PO Box Delivery only.