The U.S. Postal Service will deliver completed absentee ballots to vote counters in Alabama even if they are mailed with insufficient postage, a postal spokeswoman said. But the safest plan is to put three First Class stamps on the ballot before you drop it in the mail box.
“If a return ballot is … entered into the mainstream with insufficient or unpaid postage, it is the Postal Service’s policy not to delay the delivery of completed balloting materials,” said Debra J. Fetterly, spokesperson for the Alabama District of the United States Postal Service. “In cases where a ballot enters the mainstream without the proper amount of postage, the Postal Service will attempt to collect postage from the appropriate Board of Elections.”
The Postal Service is “fully committed to delivering the nation’s election mail securely and on-time,” Fetterly said, “and doing so is our number one priority between now and Election Day.”
The issue of postage has arisen in Alabama because the envelope the state provides to mail in an absentee ballot does not say how much postage is needed. Madison County tells residents to put $1.20 in postage on a completed absentee ballot they are mailing to be counted. That’s three First Class stamps. “We’ve seen them (arrive at the office) without that,” Circuit Clerk Deborah Kizer confirmed.
Secretary of State John Merrill’s office also recommended three First Class stamps today. “We are encouraging three stamps,” a spokeswoman said.
The Postal Service is also recommending voters put their completed ballots in the mail “at least one week (before) to their state’s deadline.” Alabama absentee ballots must legally be postmarked no later than the day before the election (Nov. 2) and received by the Absentee Election Manager no later than noon Election Day (Nov. 3), Merrill’s office says. If hand-delivered, the ballot must be in the office of the Absentee Election Manager by the close of business (no later than 5 p.m.) the day before to the election.
Follow this link to see more information about voting absentee in Alabama.