Tammy Patrick on ElectionMail Improvement Efforts

[Image via USPS]

This week’s electionlineWeekly features a guest piece by former PCEA Commissioner and Bipartisan Policy Center fellow Tammy Patrick on efforts underway to improve tracking and delivery of electionmail nationwide:

2016 saw more voters using the United States Postal Service to either receive their ballot, return their ballot, or both, than in any other election cycle.

The establishment of www.electionmail.org helped to identify some common issues that we will continue to work on in 2017 and beyond — and you can help!

USPS will be revisiting electionmail specifications and is seeking information on envelope designs and requirements to inform this decision-making process. Please consider these 5 easy actions:

1. AUTOMATION COMPATIBILITY: USPS needs samples to run through automation testing to see how they react with flexibility, sizes, etc. (A sort of L&A on their equipment if you will.)

Send 10 examples of ballot packets (outbound with the return materials included, just like you would if you were sending it to a voter) along with documentation that it was approved by a USPS Mailpiece Design Specialist (if applicable) to:

US Postal Service
Attn: Election Mail Program Manager
PO Box 23282
Washington, DC 20026-3282

2. DESIGN STANDARDS: Send your statutory requirement citations for return ballot content (voter signature, affidavit, etc.) to: electionmailprogrammanager@usps.com   

3. COMMUNICATION: Send contact for your mail vendor to possibly be contacted by USPS to discuss ways to improve their services to you: electionmailprogrammanager@usps.com

4. ELECTIONMAIL.ORG: Did you use www.electionmail.org to report a problem? If so, please complete our survey located on the site so we can improve the service.

5. COMING SOON!! MAIL CLASS & BALLOT SERVICE TYPE ID (STID): the exciting news is that USPS is creating a STID for ballots!! Now we need to understand what class of service you’re using to ensure a STID is created for that class. Be on the lookout in the next few weeks for a survey, or send your information (including the type of return mail-service) to: electionmailprogrammanager@usps.com

If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact Tammy Patrick at tpatrick@bipartisanpolicy.org or Dan Bentley at electionmailprogrammanager@usps.com.

These efforts don’t get the same kind of coverage that legal challenges, new legislation or other discussion about election policy – but they are crucial to the individual-level service that the USPS and election officials seek to provide.

Thanks to Tammy for writing this piece (and to Mindy Moretti for giving her a place to share it) … can’t wait to see what’s new in electionmail in 2017 and beyond! Stay tuned …

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