Ongoing outreach

The Postal Service is continuing ongoing outreach efforts to explain mailing requirements and services before the 2020 elections.

USPS General Counsel Thomas J. Marshall sent a letter last week to local and state election officials and state party officials across the nation that highlights key aspects of Election Mail delivery processes and explains the requirements.

“It is critical that the Postal Service’s delivery standards be kept in mind when informing voters how to successfully participate in an election using the mail, and when state and local election officials are making decisions as to the establishment of deadlines and the means used to send a piece of Election Mail to voters,” Marshall writes.

The letter is accompanied by Publication 632, State and Local Election Mail — User’s Guide, which is intended to provide boards of election and other election officials the tools needed to ensure a successful vote-by-mail operation.

Publication 632 includes an overview of how to properly use the mail during the election process; USPS mailing standards; postmarking guidelines; and military, diplomatic and overseas mailing instructions.

The letter also outlines ways in which officials can advise voters on what to expect when casting a ballot by mail.

Voters should be made aware of the mail delivery standards and transit times both when requesting an absentee ballot be mailed to them and when deciding when to mail the ballot back to election officials. USPS recommends voters mail their ballots at least one week before the due date and that they should contact local election officials for information about the specific deadlines.

These guides are a follow-up to the more extensive 2020 Official Election Mail Kit (Kit 600) distributed to 11,500 election officials in March. All of these materials are also available on the Election Mail section of usps.com.

The Election Mail and Political Mail Blue page has additional information and resources for USPS employees.

Writes Marshall: “The Postal Service is proud of its role as an important component of the nation’s democratic process and it remains committed to providing the resources needed to implement a successful election season.”

Chavez to retire

Northeast Area Vice President Eric D. Chavez will retire June 30 after a 35-year career with the Postal Service.

Postmaster General Megan J. Brennan, who announced Chavez’s retirement in a memo last week, praised his “steadfast focus on his customers, co-workers and employees” and his “reputation for building teams that delivered results.”

Chavez has led the Northeast Area since 2019, overseeing 90,000 employees in a region that encompasses New England, parts of New York and New Jersey, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

In 2018, he was recognized with a National Engagement Leader of the Year Award for his commitment to fostering employee engagement.

Previously, he served as Suncoast District manager, North Florida District manager and Southern Area operations support manager.

Chavez began his postal career in 1986 as a letter carrier in Jacksonville, FL.

Get ready

The Postal Service wants employees to prepare for hurricane season, which runs from June 1-Nov. 30 each year.

Most coastal areas are subject to hurricanes. The storms can cause high winds, heavy rain, flooding and other dangerous conditions.

Planning may be different this year because of the need to protect yourself and others from the coronavirus. Give yourself more time than usual when taking these steps to prepare:

• Complete a personal preparedness plan that includes a household inventory and the location of important family documents. Share copies with relatives or friends.

• Store enough food and water to last at least three days. One gallon of drinking water per person per day is recommended.

• Create a personal preparedness kit and include items such as hand sanitizer — or bar or liquid soap if sanitizer isn’t available — and cloth face coverings in the event of evacuation.

• Prepare your home for hurricane force winds or flooding.

• Prepare a first-aid kit and make plans for pets.

• Know your community’s hurricane plans, including evacuation routes. When you check on neighbors and friends, be sure to follow social distancing recommendations.

• Keep contact information current using a physical address — not a PO Box — and mobile telephone number. Go to the Life Changes LiteBlue page and update your address if necessary.

If a hurricane is expected, call the USPS National Employee Emergency Hotline (888-363-7462) for work schedule or reporting-time change information.

The National Preparedness Blue page has more information, including emergency response checklists and the USPS Hurricane Preparedness Guide.

The National Hurricane CenterFederal Emergency Management Agency, Ready.gov and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sites have additional information.

New promotions

USPS is offering promotions on greeting cards and gift cards at select Post Office locations:

• Greeting cards. Customers and employees will save $1 when they purchase two Hallmark cards.

A coupon, available wherever Hallmark greeting cards are sold, is required. This promotional offer cannot be combined with other offers.

The promotion began April 25 and will continue through June 21.

• Gift cards. Customers and employees will receive $3.95 off the purchase fee of a Mastercard gift card valued at $100.

Variable load gift cards are excluded. No coupon is needed.

This promotion began May 23 and will continue through June 5.