Ballots Will Be Delivered, Post Office Vows

By Hamil R. Harris
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, November 1, 2008

D.C. election officials were assured by the U.S. Postal Service yesterday that absentee ballots postmarked by Election Day will be delivered, even with incorrect postage.

Deputy Postmaster General Pat Donahoe has notified postal managers across the country to deliver all mail sent to local election boards and to charge the boards if additional postage is required.

"We are very pleased the U.S. Postal Service is working with local jurisdictions to ensure that, so that the voters' voices can be heard," said Dan Murphy, a spokesman for the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics.

Postal Service spokeswoman Joanne Veto said the postal service expects to handle 31 million mailed absentee ballots in addition to the 82 million cards and letters they process every day.

"We have been telling our people, sometimes on a daily basis, to process and deliver every ballot, regardless of the postage," she said. "The rule is, if there is any difference in the cost of the envelope, we will bill the local board of election."

Concern over mailed ballots is one factor behind a flood of phone calls to the D.C. Board of Elections.

Jackye Zimmerman, a resident of Capitol Hill, said she called the election board almost a dozen times to find out whether it had mailed her daughter's absentee ballot to the University of Vermont, where she is a junior.

"I got six different stories about her ballot," Zimmerman said.

On Tuesday, her daughter received her ballot -- not through the Postal Service but via Federal Express. Then, on Wednesday, she received a second Federal Express envelope containing another ballot.

"I was worried that she wasn't going to get a ballot, and now she has two," Zimmerman said. "She feels that it is her responsibility as a citizen to vote. This is the most important election in her short history."

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