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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 535-04
June 02, 2004

DoD, Postal Service Announce Ballot Initiative

The Department of Defense and the U. S. Postal Service are launching a series of initiatives intended to expedite the delivery of absentee ballots to U. S. military personnel abroad for this years general election.

Postal employees at the local level will contact each of the approximately 3,000 county election offices throughout the country to coordinate the mailing of absentee ballots. County election officials are currently accepting voter registrations and requests for absentee ballots. Once ballots are prepared for mailing, local post offices will facilitate the initial mailings of ballots via overnight Express Mail to the three military gateways (San Francisco, Miami and New York). This will take place approximately 30 to 45 days prior to Election Day.

After the initial ballot mailings, remaining ballots will be expedited on a daily basis from local post offices to military gateways. USPS will determine the number of ballots per location at the gateways, sort by destination, and then place in specially marked containers providing visibility to give the highest priority while being transported to their destination.

The Military Postal System will then take over to ensure that ballots are given priority handling at overseas destinations and will make every attempt to deliver as expeditiously as possible. The MPS is a division of the DoD and operated as an extension of the USPS.

The MPS will ensure each completed ballot is given a proper, legible postmark at the time of mailing and will also place balloting materials in easily identifiable containers to ensure they are given priority in transportation back to the USPS gateways. The ballots will then be given priority processing for delivery back to county election officials.

This ambitious initiative is intended to give every service member the opportunity to vote so that his or her ballot can be counted.

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