USPS resources for election officials

Like many people, today I found myself trying to find a two-cent postage stamp, given that somehow the latest postal rate increase slipped by my notice, just after I had purchased a couple dozen stamps last week. So I can’t say that I was terribly happy with the United States Postal Service today, but that was mitigated somewhat when a friend emailed me some information I had never seen before: the USPS “Election Officials’ Mailing Resources” page.

This page of resources is full of interesting material, ranging from what might be the world’s least user-friendly FAQ I’ve ever encountered to the cute little logo that election officials now use on their mailings. Most interesting is the three-step guide (right on the entry page) for how election officials should plan and send election mail: how to plan their use of the mail service, how to correctly address election mail and to keep mailing lists up-to-date, and how to best design election mail.

There are some useful resources here for election officials, coming at a time when they are increasingly using mail services for contacting voters and providing balloting materials to voters through the mail. Putting my election geek hat on for a minute, a productive research project would involve examining the effectiveness of these guidelines and materials. I am not aware that any such studies have been undertaken; the only effort that might have led to such a study was initiated by the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) when they issued a call for proposals to study vote-by-mail efforts. Unfortunately, it seems the EAC did not fund that research effort this past fall, but perhaps they might revisit this research issue this year.

But it’s great to see how the USPS is using those extra few cents I’m now spending on every piece of first-class mail!