- The United States Postal Service is strongly recommending that Americans voting by mail in November request their ballot at least 15 days before the election.
- “We recommend that jurisdictions immediately communicate and advise voters to request ballots at the earliest point allowable but no later than 15 days prior to election date,” the Postal Service told Fox News.
- Even though nearly half of states allow voters to request mail ballots within a week of the election, election officials and USPS recommend voters put their ballots in the mail at least a week out from the election.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
The United States Postal Service is strongly encouraging voters to request their mail-in ballots for the November 3 general election at least 15 days in advance, if not more, due to the significant expected increase in mail voting.
“We recommend that jurisdictions immediately communicate and advise voters to request ballots at the earliest point allowable but no later than 15 days prior to election date,” the Postal Service told Fox News in a statement.
Currently, seven states and the District of Columbia are set to send all or most registered voters a mail-in ballot for the 2020 election and 35 more will allow all voters to cast a mail ballot without an excuse beyond fear of COVID-19, according to a Washington Post analysis.
While eight states are set to send mail ballot applications to all or most voters, election officials and experts have previously told Insider that with less than 100 days to go before the election, voters should request their ballots as soon as possible to reduce the strain on local election officials and increase the chances of their ballot arriving on time.
Voters can already request their November mail ballots in 45 states, according to voter education and assistance nonprofit VoteAmerica, and officials are encouraging voters to do so as soon as they can, preferably weeks in advance.
Currently, 32 states require mail ballots to arrive the day of the election (or the day before) while 18 states and the District of Columbia allow ballots that arrive after election day to count if they are postmarked by the day of the election or the day before, according to VoteAmerica.
The Washington Post has reported that the agency’s new postmaster general has issued new guidance instructed mail carriers to prioritise delivery of commercial packages over regular mail. Mail carriers are now instructed leave mail that doesn’t get delivered on their routes at a distribution centre to be delivered the next day instead of taking overtime, a move that could severely impede timely delivery of mail including voters’ ballots.
Even though nearly half of states allow voters to request mail ballots within a week of the election, both election officials and the USPS recommend that voters plan for at least a 14-day round trip for their ballot to arrive at their home and make it back to their elections office in order to be counted.
“Customers who opt to vote through the U.S. Mail must understand their local jurisdiction’s requirements for timely submission of absentee ballots, including postmarking requirements,” the USPS told Fox.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.