As the ever-lengthening election season gears up, you can expect to receive more political mail. Political mail – also called campaign mail – provides a nice revenue lift for the U.S. Postal Service during election years. In fiscal year 2014, the Postal Service earned more than $317 million from political mail.

But there is another opportunity for the Postal Service during election years: voting by mail. Every state allows voting by mail via absentee ballot under certain circumstances. More than half of states allow any registered voter to vote via absentee ballot by mail without an excuse. And three states – Colorado, Oregon, and Washington – conduct elections entirely by mail.

Our recent audit report found the Postal Service could increase voting by mail as a way to boost volume and revenue by about $2 million a year. Beyond revenue, however, voting by mail boasts a number of benefits, and not just for the Postal Service. The convenience and accessibility of voting by mail would likely increase turnout. In addition, voting by mail allows voters more time to consider their choices because absentee ballots are mailed to voters well in advance of Election Day.

Benefits extend as well to localities, which might see costs decline due to fewer polling sites and related equipment required and less need to recruit and train poll workers. One study indicated that conducting an election by mail in one particular state’s general election would cut costs by as much as 45 percent. Finally, voting by mail provides more time to process votes.

Our report noted that the Postal Service has not taken full advantage of these opportunities because it has focused its marketing and sales efforts on the larger, more lucrative political mail market. We recommended the Postal Service develop a marketing and sales strategy for election mail.

Share your thoughts on voting by mail. Would you like your state to offer “no excuse” voting by mail? Do you think civic culture is hurt when citizens have no opportunity to vote at a polling station?

Comments (3)

  • anon

    Yes, I would very much like to have Vermont allow 'no excuse' voting by mail and should get a Clue that not only should only Vermont should also conduct Elections entirely by mail, but EVERY STATE SHOULD CONDUCT ELECTIONS ENTIRELY BY MAIL !!!!! This would prevent the U.S. Government from committing Treason and completely destroying Civic Culture and Our Constitutional Right to have ALL VOTES BEING COUNTED (UNLIKE IN FLORIDA WHERE JEB BUSH HAD POLLING STATIONS THROWING VOTING TALLY PAPERS INTO THEIR DUMPSTERS IF THERE WERE MORE VOTES FOR AL GORE INSTEAD OF HIS BROTHER, WHICH IS ILLEGAL, AND PREVENTED AL GORE FROM BECOMING PRESIDENT AND ALLOWED HIS BROTHER TO LOOK LIKE THE WINNER OF THE ELECTION - EVEN THOUGH AL GORE HAD GOTTEN MORE VOTES BUT THEY AGAIN INTERFERED WITH THE VOTING PROCESS BY STOPPING THE SUPREME COURT FROM ALLOWING A RECOUNTING OF VOTES !!!!!) and also by allowing polling machines to be set up Illegally, by placing a subsystem within the computers' black boxes, which are only supposed to have ONE PROGRAM IN THE BLACK BOXES !!!!! The US Government chooses Who They Want In The Presidential Office And Have Completely Taken Away Every Citizens Right To Cast A Ballot For Who The People In The U.S. Want In The Presidential Office !!!!! The Current System In Place Have Too Many Ways That The U.S. Government Can Fix Every Election To Have Who They Want In Every Office From The Presidential Elections All The Way Down Through Senators, Congress People, Governors of Each And Every State, And Even Down To Local Elections By Jerrymandering Districts (Which Should Be Considered And Called Exactly What It Is - Voting Fraud !) To Prevent Certain People Most Likely Not To Vote Bcuz They Don't Have An ID, Any Transportation To Polling Stations, Or As Is Most Common, A Person Going To The Polling Station To Cast Their Ballot, Only To Be Told That They Are Not Who They Say They Are Which Is Utter Bullshit !!!!! People In This Country Do Not Need To Find Out Immediately Either Simply Bcuz The Corporate Media Want To Be The First One To Call The Election Which Also Impedes And Interferes With A True And Fair Election !!!!! So, Yes, I do think My State of Vermont and Every Other State Should Conduct Every Election By Mail Only !!!!! And It Is So Curious That The 3 Most Progressive States Are The Only States To Conduct Elections Entirely By Mail When The Other 47 States, Which Should Really Be 48 States (By Finally Giving Puerto Rico It's Statehood Within This Country Rather Than Keeping It Colonized And Victimized By The U.S. Government By Now Already) Do Not Conduct All Elections By Mail !!!!!

    Oct 10, 2015
  • anon

    Yes, by all means "no excuse" voting by mail with drop-off boxes at centrally located sites throughout communities... encourages one to take the time (at home & in comfort) to study political mailings, candidate statements, to study pro & con statements and actually read resolutions, etc so one understands what a vote is for & what it means. More people are more likely to actually vote; one does not have to take off work, rearrange schedules, lose pay, use gas &/or find a babysitter to travel to a certain (sometimes distant) location just to stand in line (sometimes for hours) &/or show ID (that sometimes is unacceptable).

    Sep 22, 2015
  • anon

    Yes I currently vote by mail (for over a decade) and I think this is a splendid idea. I am an advocate of the USPS.

    Sep 22, 2015

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