Election Mail is any mailpiece that an authorized election official creates for voters participating in the election process and includes ballots and voter registration materials. The U.S. Postal Service has specific policies and procedures on the proper acceptance, processing, delivery, and recording of Election Mail.
What We Did
Our objective was to evaluate the U.S. Postal Service’s service performance of Election Mail during the November 2022 mid-term elections. To evaluate the service performance of Election Mail, we reviewed Election Mail policies, analyzed service performance data, and conducted 104 observations at mail processing facilities and 793 observations at delivery units.
What We Found
The Postal Service successfully prioritized the timely processing and delivery of Election Mail during the 2022 election cycle and was able to deliver 97.3 percent of identifiable and measurable ballots sent to voters on-time. This was an increase from the 2018 and 2020 elections and nearly six percentage points higher than the target. To ensure the highest level of service performance, the Postal Service enacted several key practices and extraordinary measures. However, these practices and measures impacted revenue and costs for the Postal Service. For example, the Postal Service authorized Marketing Mail to be processed expeditiously as First-Class Mail, the Postal Service received less revenue per piece, and potentially could have earned an additional $23 million in revenue.
In addition, we found the Postal Service was not always in compliance with their policies and procedures for processing and delivering Election Mail. Specifically, we identified compliance issues during 43 of 104 (41.3 percent) mail processing facility observations and 233 of 793 (29.4 percent) delivery unit observations. However, these compliance issues did not appear to impact the Postal Service’s ability to process and deliver Election Mail timely. Additionally, some controls are redundant with other Election Mail policies and procedures and may not have an impact on the Postal Service’s ability to timely process and deliver Election Mail.
We recommended management develop a plan to analyze costs associated with processing and delivering Election Mail, explore opportunities to be compensated for the Election Mail key practices and extraordinary measures, and evaluate the necessity of some of the Postal Service policies and procedures.
USPS Proposed Resolution
Develop a plan to analyze costs associated with the processing and delivery of Election Mail and explore opportunities to be compensated for the implementation of Election Mail key practices and extraordinary measures.
Evaluate if all current Election Mail policies are necessary and eliminate redundancies.