What? So what? Now what?: a new USPS elections division

The U.S. Postal Service is launching a new permanent division that will respond to election mail issues that may arise in the 2022 elections. Here's a quick primer.

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What?

Last week, the U.S. Postal Service announced the formation of a new permanent division that will respond to election mail issues that may arise in the 2022 elections. This is to ensure safe, secure, and timely ballot delivery of election mail in the upcoming midterms and future elections.

Operating under the USPS’ Election and Government Mail Services, the new division will deal exclusively with matters related to official election mail (eg, ballots and ballot request forms, not political mailers from campaigns). The division will oversee what a USPS official described as local “election mail strike teams” to quickly address any issues. In the past, USPS handled any issues one at a time.

So what?

The Official Election Mail logo is a unique registered trademark designed exclusively for inclusion in the design of official Election Mail.

This is good news. In 2020, the November general election saw a record 135 million mail-in ballots delivered to and from voters. While USPS delivered 98 percent of ballots from voters to election officials within three days and 99.89 percent within seven days, the volume strained USPS’ capacity and narrowed its margin for error in the event of an issue with a ballot.

Vote-by-mail is among the safest ways to cast a ballot, and the U.S. Postal Service has proven processes to ensure the safe delivery of ballots. The new division is expected to improve upon the timely delivery figures above.

Now what?

The USPS is reaching out to election officials in every state and territory with further guidance. Already this year, nearly 40 million ballots have been mailed to and from voters around the nation for various primary elections. In Nebraska’s May primary, nearly 180,000 early ballots were cast, representing nearly half of the primary electorate.

Nebraska voters can apply for an early mail-in ballot through Oct. 28 (if you need help with this process, here’s our vote-by-mail help page). And early mail-in ballots will be mailed to those who have requested them starting on Oct. 4.

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