It’s hard to believe that the 2020 elections are just around the corner. Pretty soon we’ll start seeing commercials for presidential candidates, and since the Donald is campaigning for reelection, we expect no small amount of mudslinging. However, this upcoming election will be different than all the others in recent memory. The United States is set to withdraw from the Universal Postal Union in October. Leaving the UPU will undoubtedly disrupt the 2020 elections by raising the prices of international mailing costs for absentee ballots.
Leaving the UPU Will Send International Mailing Prices Sky High
In case you don’t know what it is, the UPU consists of 192 member countries. It keeps international mailing costs reasonable and facilitates delivery.
Once the United States officially withdraws from the UPU, we will have to negotiate self-declared rates with every single country. As a result, our international mailing prices will skyrocket. This pertains to both outgoing international mail, as well as mail incoming to the United States, such as absentee voting ballots during the 2020 elections.
What High International Mailing Costs Will Mean for the 2020 Elections
Overall, the outcome of the U.S. withdrawing from the UPU is fairly simple, yet problematic: there may be less voters. Sky-high mailing costs may de-incentivize voters to send in their absentee ballots. Vote-by-mail ballots typically come with prepaid postage. As a result, mailing a ballot doesn’t cost the American voter any money out of his or her own pocket.
To ensure that international absentee voters receive the same fair and equal treatment, election directors might need to act preemptively.
In an address given at the recent Election Security Forum, Kentucky state election director Jared Dearing voiced his concern.
“How do we get word out to voters that if this ballot comes to you now and you do not submit it within weeks, it could cost you $60 to mail it — and that is if they agree to deliver it in the first place?”
In other words, Dearing’s question illustrates that election directors may need to send out international absentee ballots long before the 2020 elections roll around. They will need to send out these international ballots before the U.S. officially withdraws from the UPU…and that means they need to get busy now.