Don’t Fall For The ‘Additional Postage’-Two Stamp Ballot Scare Tactic
Let's face it - there are a lot of hoaxes and scare tactics floating around in 2020 -- coming from both sides of the political aisle. Whether it's about the COVID-19 Pandemic or various political theories, there is quite frankly a lot of disinformation being presented as fact on social media.
One of the more-common scare tactics that I have seen in the last month or so concerns the upcoming general election in November. For a variety of reasons, many are choosing to vote via absentee ballot. Because of this, the internet (social media, etc) is clogged with memes and pictures used to confuse and make people question the amount of postage they put on their ballot envelope and whether of not it will get to the election officials (and, as a result - whether or not their vote will be counted).
This is an unnecessary risk. Let me say this a different way - you don't need to worry about how many stamps you put on your ballot. Truth of the matter is you could drop that official absentee ballot in the mailbox without any postage on it and it would be delivered in the case of a federal election.
First off - let's get one thing factually straight about this issue: yes, postage is owed on an absentee ballot and someone has to pay for it. Many of these ballots arrive from the election officials to your mailbox with postage paid on it already (i.e. they've already taken care of it). A few states that don't cover the cost of mailing an absentee ballot back will clearly label how much postage is needed (i.e. there's no guessing whether or not you've put enough stamps on the envelope). Some states have "overage" accounts set up where they prepay an assumed amount, and if the actual letter comes back as owing more - that "overage" account covers the additional costs.
However, when it's all said and done - that official absentee ballot envelope would be delivered to the election officials even if there wasn't postage affixed to it. "If a ballot is nevertheless returned with short-paid or unpaid postage, it is the Postal Service’s policy not to delay the delivery of completed absentee or vote-by-mail ballots". To make up the shortfall, the U.S. Postal Service collects unpaid postage from the "appropriate board of elections".