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When it comes to voting by mail, some states provide postage-paid ballots, but most don’t.
Technically, voters are required to pay for postage if they don’t have a postage-paid ballot.
But the U.S. Postal Service says its policy is to deliver mail ballots to election offices even if the ballots lack postage.
With more Americans expected to cast election ballots by mail as the coronavirus pandemic persists, this warning was shouted on Facebook:
"TWO STAMPS NEEDED FOR MAIL-IN BALLOTS MAKE SURE THIS GETS PASSED ON !!!!!!"
But, the U.S. Postal Service says it will deliver ballots to election offices even if they lack proper postage.
In most cases, it is up to the voter to pay for postage, although voters often also have the option of using official drop-off sites or dropping off their ballots at election offices in person.
18 states require local election officials to provide return postage for mailed ballots: Arizona, California, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
For military and overseas voters, federal law generally specifies that ballots can be returned using a free postage-paid symbol.
The Postal Service has repeatedly said it will deliver ballots even if they lack sufficient postage.
"As required by federal law, appropriate postage must be affixed to all mailpieces entering into the U.S. postal service mail stream," the postal service said in a statement in April, according to The Guardian newspaper. "It is the postal service’s policy not to delay the delivery of completed absentee or vote-by-mail ballots even if no postage has been affixed or if the postage is insufficient."
"We are proactively working with state and local election officials on mailing requirements, including postage payment," the postal service said in a similar statement reported by the Associated Press in July. "In cases where a ballot enters the mailstream without the proper amount of postage, the Postal Service will collect postage from the appropriate Board of Elections."
In some states, voters get mail ballots with prepaid postage. In other states, voters might need two or more stamps to mail their ballots. But the postal service says it delivers to election offices even ballots that are lacking postage.
We rate this claim Half True.
National Conference of State Legislatures, "Voting Outside the Polling Place: Absentee, All-Mail and other Voting at Home Options," July 10, 2020
Associated Press, Cost, "Hassle of Stamps Questioned as Mail-In Voting Surges," July 18, 2020
The Guardian, "Mail-in ballots can still be delivered without a stamp," April 22, 2020
Snopes, "Do Mail-In Ballots Require Extra Postage?", Jan. 29, 2019
WUSA9.com, "VERIFY: Your mail-in ballot will be sent regardless if it has a stamp or not," June 18, 2020
National Conference of State Legislatures, "VOPP: Table 12: States With Postage-Paid Election Mail," July 10, 2020
U.S. Postal Service, "Election mail," accessed July 23, 2020
Email, Brian Hinkle, National Conference of State Legislatures research analyst II, Elections & Redistricting Program, July 23, 2020
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