The 2020 Presidential election is 50 days away from the time of publishing this post, and voters are gearing up to cast their ballots in record numbers this year. However, physical polling places may be limited due to social distancing ordinances still in place because of the Coronavirus pandemic. That means that mail-in voting is critical to this the outcome of this year’s election, and that USPS will be the one to delivery democracy to the finish line. Here’s how you can vote by mail to make sure your voice is heard in this year’s election.
How You Can Vote by Mail Depends on Each State
If you plan to vote by mail this year, you must request an absentee ballot. You can request an absentee ballot in one of two easy ways:
- Fill out this form to request an absentee ballot on Vote.org
- Type “Vote by Mail” followed by your state into Google, then proceed to follow any prompts to get your ballot
- Example: “vote by mail” California
You’ll find that there isn’t a singular resource that covers voting by mail from a federal standpoint. This is because every state has different laws and procedures around election voting. So, you’ll need to do the proper research to determine your particular state’s vote-by-mail policies.
Pro Tip: Unsure of where to start? Text MAIL to 26797 to check your voter registration status, and learn about your state’s voter deadlines.
Will USPS Deliver My Ballot On Time?
USPS has been a constant source of debate amongst media outlets for the past month. Soon after assuming the role in May, Postmaster DeJoy has implemented a number of policy changes. Some examples of these changes are the elimination of late overtime to make late deliveries, the removal of collection boxes, and the (previously planned) shutdown of several mail sorting machines. Consequently, citizens wonder whether or not the organization can handle the influx of mail-in ballots come November.
In truth, USPS is more than equipped to handle and deliver every single vote by mail ballot it receives. The Postal Service delivers and process 181.9 pieces of First-Class Mail every single day. If every eligible voter in America sent in an absentee ballot, it would only result in an additional 209 million pieces of mail injected into the USPS network. Compared to the total amount of mail that USPS processes in a single day, this figure is a mere drop in the bucket.
Can I Use Another Shipping Carrier Other than USPS to Send My Mail-In Ballot Faster?
Even though USPS will be able to get the job done, some people have asked if they’d be better off relying on another private carrier such as FedEx or UPS to deliver their ballots. In a word, the answer is no. FedEx and UPS designed their networks for the sole purpose of shipping packages, and lack the infrastructure that USPS has to sort, process, and deliver mail. Not to mention that their base-level shipping services cost much more than the price of a First-Class Mail stamp of 55 cents. If voters relied on UPS or FedEx to send their ballots, it would not only just result in greater costs for the individual voters. It would also create problems such as bottlenecks within these carriers’ networks, due to differences in state and local regulations.
So, come election time, look no further than USPS to allow you to vote by mail. The United States Postal Service has been processing and delivering absentee ballots since the Civil War. If USPS could handle absentee ballots back then, it certainly handle them today.