Friday, July 10, 2020

Letter to Congressman's Office on USPS Preparation for Elections

How Will Overseas Voters Find Info They Need for Remaining Primaries and General Election?

I spent an hour this evening (China time, starting just after 9:15 AM ET) on hold with USPS's 1-888-275-8777 toll-free number before giving up. I did try leaving your office a VM, but am also following up with this email.

Essentially, it is very difficult to find Section 8 (see below) and I think it would serve overseas voters better if the USPS had, front and center on their website, readily available information on postage-paid envelope specs (e.g., dimensions, weights) for returning a) ballots, b) the FPCA, and c) a FWAB.

For understandable reasons, the Dept of State consular offices who place our sealed ballots in a diplomatic pouch have indicated that they do not want to act as a post office, rejecting or accepting envelopes based on size or weight or indicia. It is the responsibility of the citizen to properly follow all USPS guidelines, but it is exceedingly difficult to find (on the USPS website) how big an envelope (i.e., US size 10) one is permitted to use for a postage-paid envelope that will travel by diplomatic pouch back to the USA. This information was provided to me by FVAP, which has been helpful, but many voters will turn to the USPS for info about how to mail a ballot and will be unawares of the FVAP office nested in DoD.

Section 8 at|QSG does have some helpful information, but this is not particularly accessible to the layperson. I am wondering if anything can be done soon and ahead of the election to make this information easier for overseas voters to find. I can imagine that even domestically, people will be turning to the USPS for information on how to mail their absentee ballots and may have a hard time finding the info that they need.

Walk in balance,

Alexander Lee

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