Home>Campaigns>Post Office says postmark stamp wasn’t working for Essex local election

The U.S. Postal Service is a critical partner as New Jersey steps up vote-by-mail elections. Photo by Rusty Clark.

Post Office says postmark stamp wasn’t working for Essex local election

Ballots sometimes rejected because of postmark issues

By David Wildstein, July 14 2020 3:44 pm

The U.S. Postal Service has acknowledged that faulty equipment could cause the rejection of some vote-by-mail ballots.

“The stamp used for the post mark was missing the month but the day and year were displayed on the ballots,” said Bonita A. Terry, a U.S. Postal Service manager, according to an email to Essex County election officials obtained by the New Jersey Globe through an Open Public Records Act request that took more than a year to fulfill.

Terry was referring to vote-by-mail ballots cast in the May 2019 municipal elections.

County election officials routinely invalidate mail-in ballots that lack an appropriate postmark that can authenticate the date a ballot was mailed.

It’s not immediately clear how many broken post office stamps remain in operation or what the USPS policy is regarding the use of broken equipment that could result in voters being disenfranchised.

“The U.S. Mail remains a secure, efficient and effective means for citizens and campaigns to participate in the electoral process, and the Postal Service is proud of our role as an important component of the nation’s democratic process,” said George Flood, a spokesman for the U.S. Postal Service.  “Our supervisor on duty reviewed the stamp involved, found it faulty and ordered the postmark stamp to be replaced. The Postal Service is proud of its role as an important component of the nation’s democratic process.”

This story was updated at 6:02 PM to include comment from the U.S. Postal Service.

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