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May 22, 2012

Contact:  Willard R. Helander


Impact of Postal Consolidations on Voting by Mail


WAUKEGAN, Illinois - The U.S. Postal Service announced plans to go forward with a modified schedule for consolidating its network of 461 mail processing centers in phases. If you plan to vote by mail in the November 6 Presidential election, this may impact the timeframe for the three-part mailing now required by the Illinois General Assembly.


Since July 2011, election officials are required to first receive a voter's signed application for ballot before mailing the ballot. Once voted, the voter must return the ballot by mail to the election official. The new requirement doubles postage costs for your local elections officials and extends the timeline when a voter can receive a ballot. The expanded number of mailings may result in a hardship for voters overseas.


The Postal Service's first phase will include 140 facility consolidations occurring through February 2013. This summer there will be 48 locations consolidated with most expected to occur in August. It remains unclear how the consolidation might impact timing for delivery of mail in Lake County - including a voter's request for a ballot by mail in Illinois. Seven processing sites are slated to close in Illinois.


In their second phase, an additional 889 consolidations will begin in 2014. Due to the volume of high-priority mail predicted for the election and holiday mailing seasons, no consolidating activities will be conducted from September through December of 2012.


The good news is that Saturday delivery will continue through 2013 and mail dropped at the post office will not be required to be in postal officials' hands prior to 8 a.m. in order to receive the current days' postmark. Those changes would have posed serious impacts on voting by mail.


When fully implemented in late 2014, the Postal Service expects its network consolidations to generate approximately $2.1 billion in annual cost reductions, and lead to total workforce reduction up to 28,000 employees.


Additional details are available at


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