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Internal postal service memo calls for extraordinary measures to 'deliver democracy'

Local post offices are making adjustments to ensure mail-in ballots are counted.

INDIANAPOLIS — Janice O'Rourke and her husband Mike stood in line for hours waiting to vote. They could have voted with absentee ballots. They could have mailed in their daughter's absentee ballot.  But they didn't.

"I just don't trust the process," Janice said. "I want to be here and vote in person."

A lot of people voting early and in person don't trust an absentee process that relies on the U.S. mail.

13News obtained an internal U.S. Postal Service memo detailing what it calls "extraordinary measures to deliver democracy." The memo also call for "relentless focus on election mail."

It established a command center to immediately respond to questions and problems related to the handling of ballots and other election mail.

Local post offices may extend their hours with soft opening and closing times. If the volume of ballots is heavy enough, they can establish drive-thru drop-offs. 

Post offices may also postmark ballots themselves and deliver them directly to their destination. 

On Saturday, Oct. 31, carriers will check every mailbox on their route for outgoing mail that could include an absentee ballot.

"It sounds like catchphrases." said Paul Toms, local president of the National Association of Letter Carriers.

According to Toms, election mailings have always been a priority and that most of what's being done this election year has been done before. He doesn't believe the process will speed up the delivery of mail-in ballots. 

Credit: WTHR

But this year is different. Record numbers of absentee ballots are being cast in Indiana and across the country.

The deadline for those completed ballots to be in hands of Indiana election officials is less than a week away.

Toms said if it were him, he would have already made sure to mail in his ballot.

Election officials said if you haven't already mailed in your absentee ballot, you can hand deliver it to any voting site. You don't have to wait in line.


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