All things considered, the U.S. Postal Service performed well in processing and delivering election and political mail during the 2018 midterm elections. But there are areas that could be improved for the general election in 2020.
In response to a request by the Postmaster General, we reviewed the Postal Service’s performance during the 2018 midterms, and found USPS fell just shy of its nationwide service performance goal for First-Class Mail of 96 percent on time for election and political mail, hitting 95.6 percent on time. However, we also determined that 70 percent of Postal Service facilities with election and political mail volume greater than 2 million pieces met or exceeded the service performance goal, averaging 98.3 percent on-time performance.
Election mail is a mailpiece created by an authorized election official for voters participating in the election process, such as a ballot, while political mail is used for political campaign purposes. Election mail is processed as First-Class Mail (FCM), and political mail as Marketing Mail. However, we found that facilities typically process political mail as FCM, and so we compared it to the FCM service standard.
We found low-performing sites could employ the best practices of the highest-performing facilities. For example, management should assign enough mail processing staff to process peak election and political mail volume. In addition, plant management should work with mailers and election officials on proper mailpiece design.
Elections add stress to postal operations, especially general elections. Do you see other ways the Postal Service could improve election and political mail to ensure smooth operations during the 2020 general election? Do you anticipate greater volume in fall 2020 than in past election seasons?