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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Massachusetts Absentee Ballot Envelope

A Massachusetts Absentee Ballot Envelope requires how much postage?

The Absentee Ballot return envelope says, "Place Stamp(s) here."

Hmm. It's 10.5" X 6". Seems oversized to me.

Hello City Hall
I called the City of Boston Election Department and the operator told me that it needs one stamp. She didn't seem to sure, so I asked to speak to someone in the election department.

She transferred me and I was disconnected. I called back. She tried again and the line was busy. I asked for a direct #. I called myself and the line was busy.

Mayor Menino does not believe in voice mail.

Boston City Hall

I called back and spoke with a woman who told me that I should probably put a few stamps on the envelope. She said it depends on the mail carrier if it gets delivered. She said it depends on their mood that day.

She gets ballots delivered with none, 1, 2 and 3 stamps.

I explained that I thought the envelope seemed oversized and she suggested that I use two stamps.

How about finding out exactly what they require and then telling people that? I also suggested that she tell the main swithchboard operator to stop giving out false information.

Hello United States Postal Service
Looking at the USPS postage price calculator, it says:

Letters that meet one or more of the nonmachinable characteristics below are subject to the $0.20 nonmachinable surcharge. For items over 3.5 ounces, see large envelope or package prices.

- It is a square letter

- It is too rigid – does not bend easily

- It has clasps, string, buttons, or similar closure devices

- It has an address parallel to the shorter dimension of the letter

- It contains items such as pens that cause the surface to be uneven

- The length divided by height is less than 1.3 or more than 2.5


So my letter is 10.5 / 6 = 1.75. Seems ok.

Is it too rigid? Hmm...

I'm bringing it to the post office for an official determination.



Update:



Video - It Costs 59 Cents to Vote in Massachusetts

Additional version: YouTube

Update 8/29/08:

Just got a call from the City of Boston election department. They are going to include a note in the Absentee Ballot mailings and on the website to let people know that it costs 59 cents to mail.

Yay! Thanks for calling!

Update 9/17/13:

Just got my absentee ballot for the upcoming election.

The envelope still says Place Stamp(s) here.

There is no note included with the mailing telling me how much postage to use. The City of Boston website has no note either.

13 comments:

  1. Isn't requiring postage for an absentee ballot disenfranchisement?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Anonymous8:43 AM

    Wonder why the weird size?

    (sarcasm)

    ReplyDelete
  3. If requiring people to pay in excess of $300 to exercise their constitutional right to keep and bear arms passes constitutional muster in Boston, you're not going to get much traction arguing against a 59-cent stamp.

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  4. Hell, forget about what it costs to own a gun. It costs $3.12 to surrender one's right to own a gun in Massachusetts.

    If you move out of state, you are required to send in the change of address form via certified mail to have your MA license to carry voided.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Anonymous12:23 PM

    I voted absentee in the primary, and about a month ago, my ballot was returned for improper postage.

    Obviously, I was furious. This is quite a heap of bullshit. I'll take a picture and send it here.

    This is why I voted for Bonifaz!

    ReplyDelete
  6. 59 cents is still cheaper than voting in person if you have to drive to the polling location.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Great follow through, Steve. Amy had her Primary Election absentee ballot returned... postage due.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Why would an absentee ballot be returned for insufficient postage?

    What is the City of Boston's Election Department policy on this?

    What is the post office policy on this?

    Does any one care?

    I emailed the City of Boston Election Department to ask them what the proper postage is for an absentee ballot prior to heading to the post office.

    I still have not heard back.

    Time for another email.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Just sent this in to the City of Boston Election Department:

    I emailed you the other day asking about postage for an absentee ballot.

    Never heard back.

    So I went to the post office and had the envelope weighed. It costs 59 cents. Please inform your receptionist and staff.

    I've now blogged about this and contacted my city councillor. My blog post was featured on the front page of boston.com.

    People are contacting me with stories of their ballots being returned, postage due.

    Why would an absentee ballot be returned for insufficient postage?

    What is the City of Boston's Election Department policy on this?

    There is a discussion going on over on my blog, it would be great if you could respond over there.

    If you'd prefer replying via email or calling on the phone that's fine too.

    Thanks,
    --Steve

    ReplyDelete
  10. Just got a call from the City of Boston election department. They are going to include a note in the Absentee Ballot mailngs and on the website to let people know that it costs 59 cents to mail.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Anonymous10:25 AM

    Awesome Steve! Good work. I would also consider filing a complaint with the Secretary of State, since they are liable for election issues. I may just file one myself. Cheers.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Anonymous12:53 PM

    Even though the envelope cost 59 cents, if you think about it, anyone who drives is paying more than that. If the lifetime cost per mile for your vehicle is 50 cents/mile and you drive 4 miles round-trip, then you've spent $2. Worse, if you have to leave work and your total mileage ends up being 20 miles, you've just paid $10. So, 59 cents isn't too bad a deal.

    ReplyDelete