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Potential Financial Effect on the U.S. Postal Service of Increased Voting by Mail

GAO-12-72R Published: Oct 20, 2011. Publicly Released: Oct 20, 2011.
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The United States Postal Service (USPS) is in a serious financial crisis and has not generated sufficient revenue to cover its expenses and financial obligations as mail volume continues to decline. Congress requested that we examine how much additional revenue could result from the increased use of voting by mail--that is, more registered voters receiving and casting ballots through the mail. Currently, all states use voting by mail to some degree, most commonly in the form of absentee ballots mailed to registered voters who cannot, or choose not to, vote in person on Election Day. However, Oregon and Washington now administer elections solely through mail voting. According to a 2009 U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) study, about 23.7 million ballots, or 17.7 percent of all votes, were cast by mail in the 2008 presidential election. This report documents information on the revenue potential of increased use of voting by mail that we presented to your office on August 17, 2011.

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