John Casszar has fulfilled his civil duty.
After receiving the ballot mailed on Friday for the upcoming November elections, residents of Lascom Manor Township made careful choices over the weekend. He sealed the ballot in a security envelope and pushed it into the outer envelope.
He confirmed that he would sign the declaration. This is a necessary step to ensure that it counts.
But when it was time to hit the stamp and drop it in the mail, he paused. Something didn’t seem to be right.
“When I was working with envelopes, I thought it felt pretty thick,” he said. “So I decided to weigh it just by looking at it. I realized that I needed two stamps to send it, and I thought maybe some people wouldn’t.”
Csaszar was right. The United States Postal Service and the Berks County Commissioner have confirmed that multiple 55-cent “permanent” stamps may be required on the ballot mailed.
However, post office officials say ballots with inadequate postage will continue to be delivered, and county officials say they will make up for the shortage of postage.
But Csaszar didn’t know that, perhaps as voters in most other counties cast ballots by mail. So when he found that it would take 88 cents to mail the ballot, he started calling.
On Tuesday he first called the Berks County Election Services Office and was told he knew that multiple stamps could be required for the ballot to be returned. However, they did not provide an explanation as to why the disclaimer was not included in the instructions sent to those who chose to vote by mail.
Then call the Fleetwood Post Office to find out how to handle ballots with inadequate postage, and if the county refuses to pay the difference, the ballots will be returned to the sender. I was told.
He was then told to call the office of State Senator Judy Schwank to make sure he knew of the potential problem and investigate immediately.
He then called the Berks County Commissioner Kevin Beirne’s office and said he would give the information.
Finally he contacted Reading Eagle..
“The real concern is those who don’t know that they have to stamp two stamps on ballots,” he said. “And some people may just procrastinate and send it a week before the election. Due to the very slow current postal service, these ballots will only be returned one week after the election. It may not be done. “
In local elections, where turnout is historically lower than in other elections, lack of ballot can make a big difference in the results of local races, Csaszar said.
He feels the county authorities need to notify the post office to pay the difference, or must use multiple stamps to send to anyone who receives the mailed ballot. He said he felt he needed to send a letter notifying him that he might not be. Their ballot.
“The only way to solve this is for the county to say that if the postage is short, it will cover the postage, otherwise people may not be able to vote,” he said.
Election officials confirmed on Wednesday that ballots for the 2021 general election would require more postage than a single standard stamp.
In a county statement, authorities worked with the local postmaster to send a message to all Burks post offices, send the mailed ballots when they were received, and instruct the senders not to return them. Said that.
Unfortunately, the county cannot guarantee that all post offices will forward ballots as requested, they said. To ensure that the ballot is received, voters are advised to include additional stamps on the mailed ballot or drop it in one of the two county-designated drop boxes starting Monday.
“Berks County is dedicated to ensuring that this situation never happens again during future elections,” they said in a statement.
Paul Smith, a spokesman for the United States Postal Service, said the agency is requiring voters to be notified of the amount of postage required. However, it is our policy not to delay the delivery of the completed ballot if the return ballot is inadequate or entered in the mail stream with unpaid postage.
Smith said that if ballots enter the postal stream without proper postage, the post office will deliver the ballots and attempt to collect the missing postage from the appropriate Election Commission. ..
Berks County ballots require additional shipping
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