The question on everyone’s minds these days is how much the termination of Saturday mail delivery will affect campaigning. In this time of increasing vote by mail ballots being sent in days before the election, it could be disastrous. People who have relied on Saturday mail pick up at their mailboxes will no longer be able to do that. Most state require that vote by mail ballots be received by the end of the voting on Election Day. Even now, mailing on Saturday doesn’t guarantee delivery.
Mailing on the Monday before the election won’t get there at all in most instances. People who vote by mail in those states where election day poll voting is still in effect should be counseled to walk their ballot into the polls, rather than trusting it to the mails in those crucial last few days.
For us direct mail consultants who want their last minute messages, rebuttals to a late hit piece or a reminder to vote to hit their targets’ mail boxes on the Saturday before the election, that is no longer an option. We must aim for the Friday, or even the Thursday before the election and hope the voters take the time from their busy after work schedules to glance at the mail.
Already slowdowns in delivery time have mailhouse managers advising their clients to mail early to avoid a catastrophic day-after-the-election delivery. With more automation in bulk mail centers, lay-offs and general loss of morale among postal works, we have seen mail go missing in the last weeks of the election, prompting loading dock visits, frantic phone calls, and even pleas for help to Congressional aides.
The Post Office deserves our support. As a self funded, self supporting arm of the government, it is a roaring success story, or has been until recently. The recent disarray stems from a 2006 edict that the Postal Service, alone among Federal agencies, pre-fund its retirement program for 75 years into the future. What was a self-sustaining, even profitable arm of the government has become a financially and morally bankrupts poor relation. This affects more than political campaigns of course, as any rural dweller dependent on the mail for delivery of its mail, packages and even life-saving medicine, can attest to.
For a short explanation of these budget busting shenanigans, see http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=news/politics&id=9012963
And to see what you can do to protest and maybe even halt these measures, see http://www.apwu.org/news/webart/2013/13-22-pspa-130301.htm