The U.S. Postal Service announced today that its plan to consolidate its mail processing network includes a suspension of the consolidation efforts during the election mailing season in order to avoid any adverse impact on the November election. The Postal Service will also utilize an Election Mail Task Force to work with all 50 states to develop strategies that address the questions and concerns of state and local election boards. Together, these measures will ensure the timely delivery of election-related mail.
“Mail is an increasingly important part of the U.S. election process and we are confident in the dependable and timely delivery of election-related mail,” stated U.S. Postmaster General and CEO Patrick R. Donahoe.
In December, the U.S. Postal Service formed an agreement with Congress that no consolidation or closing of any postal facility will occur prior to May 15, 2012. Therefore, most closures or consolidations would have to take place starting after May 15, 2012, and be completed by August 31, 2012. Further consolidation of facilities would then continue in early 2013. The pursuit by the Postal Service of the significant consolidation of its national network of mail processing facilities is contingent upon its adoption of a final rule changing its delivery service standards
For primary elections after May 15, the U.S. Postal Service is instituting a state-by-state outreach program to address the questions and concerns of election boards, political candidates and mailers.
In addition, for states that are promoting vote by mail, the proposed plan to study 3,600 Post Offices around the U.S. for possible closure will not adversely affect the voting process as customers have many ways in which to deposit mail, including with their carrier, with a retail partner, at a collection box location, or at a neighboring office within reasonable distance to their current location. The Postal Service is exploring options to provide customers with alternate access to postal services and products where they live, work and shop.