Did you know the U.S. Postal Office existed before the Declaration of Independence? The USPS’ role in this country is so essential that it was written into the Constitution. This year, it’s preparing for an unprecedented task: delivering millions of mail-in ballots for Election Day. 

In this week’s episode of At the Polls, we answer voters’ questions about absentee voting along with Joyce Harris, a veteran employee who has been with the USPS for more than 30 years, and Bobby Hoffman, the deputy director of the ACLU’s Democracy Division -— and coincidentally, a former letter carrier for USPS.

Voting by mail has been a common method of voting since long before the pandemic. Its roots go all the way back to the Civil War, when it allowed Union soldiers to vote absentee while deployed. Today, roughly 24 percent of all voters mail in their ballots. The USPS delivered 137 million ballots in 2016, which is still less than the average amount of mail they deliver in a single day during the Christmas season. The USPS is more than up for the task that awaits them this historic election. 

Voting is already happening in many states, so voters need to make their voting plan today. The best way to prepare is to look up your state’s deadlines and regulations in the Let People Vote voter guide, and tune in to At the Polls this week for more questions answered about voting by mail. 

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