(WHTM) — Voters in Cumberland County are asking questions about their mail-in-ballots. The issue has to do with how much the ballots weigh and whether that means voters need to put an extra stamp on them.
Voters like Karen Smith and her husband are asking that question. The two have been voting by mail in Cumberland County for a few years.
“As soon as they allowed it, we started voting by mail,” Smith said. “It gives you the opportunity to research the candidates.”
However, when they got their ballots for the November 2023 General Election, something was different.
“When we were done, we noticed, you know, there was two legal size pages, which was odd,” Smith remembered.
Still, she filled it out and put her ballot in the right envelopes.
“And I thought I’d better weigh this on my kitchen scale. And it said 1.1 ounce, and I’m like ‘Oh!'” she said.
Once you’re over an ounce, postage is 87 cents rather than 63 cents, but Smith said the instructions with the ballot did not specify whether she needed one or two stamps. She decided to be safe.
“We put two stamps on each ballot just to be sure it gets there,” she said.
But what about everyone else? Smith said she worried about other voters in her county.
“How many people are going to weigh their ballots to see, and if they only use one stamp, I assume it’s going to get returned to them,” she said.
abc27 contacted the postal service to ask what happens if someone sends back an overweight ballot with one stamp.
A spokesperson for USPS said the postal service will still deliver those ballots, and “attempt to collect postage from the appropriate Board of Elections. The postal service also said election officials are responsible for telling voters how much postage they need to use.
Full statement from USPS:
“The U.S. Postal Service is fully committed to the secure, timely delivery of the nation’s Election Mail.
Each state, or local Board of Elections if authorized, determines whether to provide voters with a pre-paid return envelope for mail-in ballots or to request that voters apply their own appropriate postage. The Postal Service requires election officials to inform voters of the amount of postage required, if applicable.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: If a return ballot is nevertheless entered into the mailstream with insufficient or unpaid postage, it is the Postal Service’s policy not to delay the delivery of completed absentee balloting materials, including mail-in ballots. We are proactively working with state and local election officials on mailing requirements, including postage payment. In cases where a ballot enters the mailstream without the proper amount of postage, the Postal Service will deliver the ballot and thereafter attempt to collect postage from the appropriate Board of Elections.“Mark Lawrence, USPS Strategic Communications Specialist
Smith said she hopes county officials can simplify things and avoid this happening again.
“This might cause some people to think twice about voting by mail, and that would be a concern because I think everyone should vote,” she said.
A Cumberland County spokesperson confirmed the ballots are heavier this time because they include Judge Retention Ballots, which only come up every other year. The county also said all ballots come with instructions saying “Remember to include postage,” but those instructions do not specify how much.
The county also said it has received mail ballots with one stamp, two stamps or no stamps at all.
The safest thing to do is to always make sure you put the right postage on your ballot. If you’re not sure what that is, take it into the post office and let them weigh it.
This is a developing story. Stay updated on the latest from abc27 News