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States consider voting by mail

Five states conduct elections entirely by mail, while 17 others offer voting by mail on a limited basis.

More than a dozen states are considering allowing voters to cast their ballots by mail or have already done so this primary season as physical distancing and stay-at-home orders make conducting traditional elections difficult.

The coronavirus pandemic has prompted many states to postpone their primaries until late summer. In several of these states, governors and lawmakers are either taking steps to move to all-mail elections or are considering it.

The Postal Service is monitoring the situation closely, according to Political and Mailing Services National Lead Don Nichols.

“We stand ready to ensure that mail is positioned to communicate election changes and provide support for any legislative updates that include voting by mail,” he said.

Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Utah and Washington already conduct elections entirely by mail. Seventeen other states offer voting by mail on a limited basis.

In addition to this year’s presidential contest, there are primary races for seats in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, governorships and state and local legislative bodies.

In fiscal year 2019 (Oct. 1, 2018-Sept. 30, 2019), the Postal Service handled more than 175 million pieces of Election Mail, which refers to mail that allows individuals to participate in the voting process, such as ballots for domestic or international delivery.

The Election Mail and Political Mail Blue page has more information and resources.