Election season arrives like clockwork. Every four years, a general election. Every two years, a midterm election. The U.S. Postal Service plays a regular role in elections, with the delivery of both election mail and political mail. Election mail is a mailpiece that an authorized election official creates for voters participating in the election process, while political mail is mail used for political campaign purposes.
While mid-term elections don’t stress the postal system as much as general elections, they certainly add a wrinkle to postal operations. Even special elections can cause hiccups. Our recent report found the Postal Service was not ready for the January 2018 special elections, especially in the areas of training and communication between headquarters and mail processing facilities. As we noted in the report, a lack of preparedness can cause election and political mail handling delays.
We then evaluated the Postal Service’s readiness for timely processing of election mail and political mail for the 2018 midterm elections and found USPS should be ready for timely processing of this mail for the fall midterm elections. Additionally, USPS has adequate response time for any further 2018 midterm election needs.
Our report said the Postal Service has applied lessons learned since our field work on the January 2018 special elections, which should help it prepare for the November 6 midterm elections. We noted its continuing focus should be on updating its communication plan annually to include all Postal Service election documents and web pages for headquarters and mail processing facilities for general, midterm, and special elections. We also stressed standardized election and political mail training for all mail processing employees at least annually. And finally, USPS should update annually (at a minimum) its internal and external website information, including processing instructions and election and political mail coordinator contact information.
Do you expect smooth sailing this midterm election season for election and political mail? Do you anticipate greater volume than in past midterm election seasons?