September 23, 2020
Over the past several months, there has been a concerted effort by some to cast doubt on the security of vote by mail and on the ability of the Postal Service to meet the expected surge in vote by mail this year. We have pushed back on this narrative and communicated that we are confident we will rise to the occasion. Toward that end, NALC and the other postal unions and management associations formed a task force with the Postal Service to prepare for the anticipated increase in election mail this fall.
The National Election Task Force has engaged in several cooperative and productive meetings to discuss communication, operational needs and potential issue resolution. We have made progress in continuing past policies and efforts as well as developing additional protocols and commitments to ensure that election mail is handled appropriately. We also produced a video with Postmaster General DeJoy to outline our goals.
In the initial meetings, the Task Force was fully briefed on the Postal Service’s months-long preparation for the November election, which included dramatically increasing the number of personnel to serve as liaisons with local election boards in the Postal Service’s district offices and steps to taken to replace all the postmark printers across the country to ensure high-quality postmarks on ballot envelops. Also covered was the Postal Service’s external and internal communications plans.
The Task Force has agreed to develop local election mail task forces in each postal facility to ensure appropriate communication is accomplished with all employees and to quickly identify and resolve issues that may arise. The union and management representatives on these local task forces will be educated on the protocols that have been developed at headquarters. They will have constant communication locally throughout the election season.
Among the topics being discussed are ways to ensure every ballot is delivered on time even if they are mailed later than the recommended seven days before the election and how to ensure that every ballot handled by the Postal Service can be postmarked, even for types of mail that don’t usually need a postmark. The latter is important because some states use postmarks to determine whether a ballot is cast on time.
The Task Force is also discussing contingency plans in the event of potential Covid-19 outbreaks this fall that could impact postal operations. Toward this end, the MOU negotiated in the spring to allow for increased staffing in facilities impacted by the coronavirus was extended through the end of the year.
We look forward to continuing our efforts and are confident the Postal Service is well positioned to handle and deliver whatever volume of election mail we are given this fall.