The U.S. Postal System has been making headlines lately and not all of those have been good. Minnesota is nearing its primary and in a few short months the nation will be holding an election. In the before times, if anyone didn’t like the mail, they could just go vote in person but now the pandemic has caused a lot of people to rethink that. Can we trust the postal system? Is there anything I can do to make sure my ballot gets counted? — Madly in love with vote by mail
Dear Madly in love,
“Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”
Many think that is the motto of the U.S. Postal Service and while it is chiseled in gray granite over the entrance to the New York City Post Office on Eighth Avenue, USPS doesn’t have an official motto. But that is not why you have written to the all-knowing Answer Man. I just had that gem tucked away and thought it was appropriate to bring out now.
I use this unofficial motto, which according to the USPS is from “The Persian Wars” by Herodotus, as a way to illustrate that the USPS has assured the Answer Man of its commitment to getting your ballot where it belongs.
“As we anticipate that many voters may choose to use the mail to participate in the upcoming elections due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are conducting and will continue to proactively conduct outreach with state and local election officials and Secretaries of State so that they can make informed decisions and educate the public about what they can expect when using the mail to vote,” a spokesperson for USPS told the Answer Man.
But getting your ballot to its final destination also requires some action on the part of the voter. Voters must use First-Class Mail or an expedited level of service to return their completed ballots.
“The Postal Service recommends that domestic, non-military voters mail their ballots at least one week prior to their state’s due date to allow for timely receipt by election officials,” the spokesperson wrote in an email. “The Postal Service also recommends that voters contact local election officials for information about deadlines.”
Ever helpful, one of the Answer Man’s minions did contact a local election official, Olmsted County Director of Property Records and Licensing Mark Krupsk, who said voters shouldn’t wait until the last day to mail in their ballots.
For the primary, ballots that are posted-marked on Aug. 11 will still be counted as long as they arrive before end of day Aug. 13. The timeline for Nov. 3 general election has not yet been set.
Send questions for the Answer Man to [email protected]