April 24, 2012

Wyden Moratorium on Postal Closures to Protect Vote-by-mail Included in Postal Reform Bill

Washington, D.C. – With 25 million Americans expected to cast their ballots for president through the Unites States Postal Service, disruptions to that system could have real and lasting effects on the outcome of the election. In order to protect the integrity of the vote-by-mail system first pioneered by Oregon and the millions of Americans who vote by absentee ballot, U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) successfully secured an amendment into the postal reform legislation to prevent closings of postal facilities until after the election.

“For states that vote by mail, postal reform is an election issue. Nearly 85 percent of registered Oregon voters turned in ballots in the 2008 election – all them through the mail. Twenty-nine states extensively use mail-in balloting and hundreds of thousands of servicemembers serving overseas have no choice but to vote by mail. While closing a postal sorting facility may delay the mail by only a day or two, that delay can mean the difference in an election. Any action that delays the delivery of ballots is an action that could potentially harm the democratic process and irrevocably affect the outcome of an important election. I am grateful that my Senate colleagues saw the urgency of protecting the integrity of this system and voted to give our citizens the confidence that all of their ballots will be counted.”

The amendment also requires the USPS to study the effect of closing or consolidating postal facilities on the vote-by-mail system and to require the USPS to notify election officials prior to closing or consolidating facilities in vote-by-mail states or those with 40 percent or more votes coming from absentee ballots.

[VIDEO] Senator Wyden's floor statement when the amendment was agreed to:

[VIDEO] Senator Wyden's floor speech when the amendment was first introduced:

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