Educating Yourself – And Your Clients – About Election Mail
Primaries and local elections are being held across the country, and it appears voters like voting by mail. Better prepared than when they were hit by a surge of mail-in ballots in 2020, election officials are getting out ballots quickly. Initial reports indicate the US Postal Service (USPS) is meeting delivery expectations.
That doesn’t mean print service providers (PSPs), or mail service providers (MSPs) should be resting on their laurels. Primary turnout is historically lower than general elections. Plus, municipal elections could bring a change in the personnel administering elections in the fall. And of course, you may have adjustments in staffing as well.
Even if you don’t plan on printing or mailing ballots, plans don’t always work out the way we intend. Partners, even competitors, may reach out for assistance. This may be due to staffing issues, equipment problems, or the ongoing paper shortage. A few minutes of education now will help you be flexible and ready for the unknowns of the future.
The USPS has resources to help. In March, Postmaster General DeJoy appointed Adrienne Marshall as the Election & Government Mail Director. In the past, this was a temporary assignment. Now, it is a full-time position with dedicated staff.
Another resource is the updated Kit 600 – The 2022 Official Election Mail Program Kit. The kit includes information sheets on:
- Election Mail Key Recommendations
- Official Election Mail Resources
- Steps to Creating Your Intelligent Mail Barcode
- Service Type Identifier for Ballot Mail
- Informed Visibility Mail Tracking and Reporting
- Tag 191, Domestic and International
- Business Reply Mail and Qualified Business Reply Mail
- Special Procedures: APO/FPO/DPO and Overseas Citizens Absentee Ballots
- Informed Delivery
- Mailing Standards of the United States Postal Service, Domestic Mail Manual
- USPS Election Mail Checkbox
- USPS Postmarking Guidelines
- Next Steps
The kit also includes two key booklets:
- Publication 631, Official Election Mail—Graphic Guidelines and Logos
- Publication 632, State and Local Election Mail—User’s Guide
Even experienced mailers should take the time to read the entire contents of the kit. The USPS continues to adjust rules and recommendations based on what is learned during each election cycle. Don’t just drop a copy of the kit off at your client’s office. Schedule time with your clients, and walk through the kit. Make sure they understand the physical requirements and deadlines.
Vote by mail is a tradition that extends back over 150 years. However, now the scrutiny of the process focuses not just on election officials, but on their service providers. Put yourself, and your customers, in a position for a successful election season.
Input for this piece was provided by Lois Ritarossi, CMC, President of High Rock Strategies:
Lois Ritarossi, CMC, is the President of High Rock Strategies, a consulting firm focused on sales and marketing strategies, and business growth for firms in the print, mail and communication sectors. Lois brings her clients a cross functional skill set and strategic thinking with disciplines in business strategy, sales process, sales training, marketing, software implementation, inkjet transformation and workflow optimization. Lois has enabled clients to successfully launch new products and services with integrated sales and marketing strategies, and enabled sales teams to effectively win new business. You can reach Lois at highrockstrategies.com.
Mark M. Fallon is president and CEO of The Berkshire Company, a consulting firm specializing in mail and document processing strategies. The company develops customized solutions integrating proven management concepts with emerging technologies to achieve total process management. He offers a vision of the document that integrates technology, data quality, process integrity, and electronic delivery. His successes are based upon using leadership to implement innovative solutions in the document process. You can contact Mark at firstname.lastname@example.org.