ICYMI: Post Office Creates Elections Division

At the end of July, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) announced the creation of a new division to oversee election issues. The AP reported:

The idea behind the creation of the Election and Government Mail Services is to have a permanent division dedicated to dealing with election matters, instead of handling issues one at a time as in the past.

Adrienne Marshall, executive director of the division, said Wednesday that the services will oversee “election mail strike teams” in every local and district community to address any problems that might arise.

“We are fully committed to the secure and timely delivery of the nation’s election mail,” she said.

As groups like Lawyers Democracy Fund point out, there are serious concerns with mail-in voting including more opportunities for coercion and voter errors:

Voting by mail creates greater opportunity for bad actors to influence how electors cast their vote because the “secrecy of the ballot box” does not exist like it does at a polling location.  Voters might feel pressured to cast their ballot a certain way if someone is counseling them on how and if they should vote.  This potential influence is not present when voters are casting their ballots in person. . .

Voters who cast their ballot by mail do so away from the assistance of election officials; therefore, there exists increased opportunity for voters who vote by mail to make errors that are fatal to their ballots being counted.  At least 30% of the mail ballots rejected in 2018 were disqualified due to an error on the voter’s part, such as the voter’s signature not matching, there being no signature or other failed procedure.  These errors do not occur when voters cast their ballot in-person.  Further, mail ballots from younger, minority and first-time voters are most likely to be thrown out.  Because these ballots are delivered through the postal system, it can be a challenge for voters to quickly “cure” or correct their ballot for it to be counted.

Furthermore, there are concerns with how lost and delayed mail may contribute to disenfranchisement of mail voters.

USPS' new election mail division should utilize commonsense policies to contribute to voter integrity measures enacted at the state level.