Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold sent a letter on Tuesday to President Donald Trump asking the administration to reverse its decision to leave the Universal Postal Union, or UPU.
The Trump administration announced last October its intent to withdraw from the UPU. Since a country must provide a year’s notice to withdraw, the U.S. will officially leave the Universal Postal Union on October 17 if the decision is not reversed.
The UPU allows members of the military and overseas voters to vote and return their ballots back to the states. Currently, Colorado county clerks mail or electronically send ballots to eligible voters overseas, and they return those ballots by using the UPU. Griswold said if the administration backs out, millions of voters will be disenfranchised for the 2019 and 2020 elections.
“President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the UPU is part of his trade war with China and threatens to disenfranchise millions of military and overseas voters. I urge the administration to prioritize military and overseas voters by remaining in the UPU for now,” Griswold said.
According to Griswold, over 38,000 military and overseas Coloradans voted in 2016, and over 28,000 in 2018. 30 percent of these voters were military, and 70 percent were citizens living abroad.
The State Department and U.S. Postal Service are working on agreements to facilitate mail service on a country-by-country basis if the U.S. leaves the UPU. If Coloradans live in countries where those agreements are not successful, Griswold said military and overseas voters might not receive ballots or have no way to return them.