Notebook: The right (official) contacts for voting; online nonsense about the Postal Service; some endorsements

Ed. — This initially appeared in print in the Sunday, Aug. 23 edition.


VIRGINIA BEACH — In a recent edition, Notebook wrote about confusion caused when a nonprofit group called the Center for Voter Information sent mailers offering to sign voters up for by-mail voting, but botched return envelopes with incorrect return addresses — at least, in other areas of the commonwealth.

Envelopes mailed to folks in Virginia Beach, such as two received at the Notebook household, had the right address, but the mailings by the nonprofit still caused “concerns about voter fraud and voter privacy” in Virginia Beach, according to the Virginia Beach Department of Elections and Voter Registration.

In a statement, Donna Patterson, director of the city voter registration department, wrote: “The concern amongst local residents is legitimate and may stem from reports of errors on the preaddressed envelopes sent by the Center for Voter Information in several areas of the state. … I cannot speak for the Center for Voter Information, but as it relates to the integrity of the voting process in Virginia Beach, we take it very seriously and felt compelled to clarify the situation.”

Patterson noted that there is no indication any return addresses are incorrect for Virginia Beach. The address for the department is PO Box 6247, Virginia Beach, VA 23456. 

“The form is the correct Vote by Mail Application for Virginia and anyone who has already mailed the form may rest assured that our office will process their request for a ballot for the Nov. 3 General Election,” Patterson said. “We do advise that voters verify the pre-filled information in the mailer before sending it in, or, even better, apply for an absentee ballot directly on the state website at”

Visit for additional information about voting in Virginia Beach.

Former Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat, on Wednesday, Aug. 19, filed paperwork with state elections officials listing him as a candidate for governor. The Associated Press’ Alan Suderman reported the filing, but he added that a spokesperson for McAuliffe said he would not decide whether he is running until after the Tuesday, Nov. 3, general election.

Brennan Bilberry, the spokesperson said, “Gov. McAuliffe is making no decisions on 2021 until after we defeat Donald Trump and his hateful ideology.”

In Virginia, governors cannot run for successive terms. Two have been elected to second terms since the 1830s — William Smith, who served in the 1860s and again in the 1870s, and Mills Godwin, elected as a Democrat in the mid-1960s and in the mid-1970s as a Republican. 

There are a number of reasons to be concerned about political influence on U.S. Postal Service practices before a general election in which many Americans will vote by mail due to the pandemic. President Trump, among others, continues to undermine that means of voting. 

But just because something seems to fit a narrative doesn’t make it so. 

This Notebook item only focuses on some of what has been shared on social media – specifically an image that claims to show mailboxes removed by truck in Norfolk. A friend shared a social media post claiming to show this. Notebook tried to check it out, but it seems to be bunk.

The post by someone in Baltimore, on Sunday, Aug. 16, claims an image showing boxes with a caption: “Downtown Norfolk, Va., mailboxes being removed. Even if you don’t agree on candidates, you have to agree that hindering the process is wrong. …”

Presumably, the image was taken downtown, but there is nothing clearly identifying the location. And people in other communities have shared the image, too, without specifying a location.

Most of the people Notebook could find through a reverse image search online shared it via retweets of a social media post by someone working to elect Joe Biden.

“Republicans truly loathe democracy,” he tweeted in a caption accompanying two images, the truck photo and another photo of mailboxes piled up in a storage yard. Neither photo gives context or a source.

That should give reasonable people pause because undocumented, unsourced material is likely partisan misinformation that distracts from real issues. You do not solve a legitimate problem with false or misleading evidence. A Postal Service spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Notebook contacted the person who first shared the image on Facebook. She said she would have her source reach Notebook. They didn’t. Probably bunk.

Virginia Beach Professional Firefighters Local 2924 has endorsed several City Council candidates, mostly incumbents. They are incumbent Mayor Bobby Dyer and incumbent City Councilmembers Michael Berlucchi in the Rose Hall District, Rosemary Wilson in an at-large seat and Sabrina Wooten in the Centerville District. Local 2924 also endorsed challenger Bill Dale in the Kempsville District.

Notebook runs announcements of endorsements and events as space allows. Reach

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