Costs of Undeliverable as Addressed (UAA) Mail

I have seen and read a lot about the possibility of problems with voting by mail. As usual politicians clamor about how we (and they) may be affected (or not) if such a process should take place. Usually their comments are completely unsupported by any factual evidence. Some media outlets also tend to promote one side or another by how they choose to report on the subject.

If you want to get some factual information from the United Postal Service Office of the Inspector General, go to uspsoig.gov/blog/undeliverable as addressed. In this offering by the U S Postal Service titled “Undeliverable as Addressed Costs More than You Think,” you will find that despite concerted efforts by the postal service and mailers to reduce UAA mail, it actually increased by 2.1 percent to a total of 6.6 billion pieces from fiscal years 2011 to 2014.

The postal service strategies to reduce UAA have been ineffective because of the complexity of the address verification process. In the above cited offering, there are 158 comments from people and/or companies describing the problems they faced with UAA mail.

The numbers cited represent an average of 1.65 billion pieces of UAA mail per year! I repeat, billions of pieces of UAA mail. How can there not be a potential for problems with voting by mail.

It does not take long to visualize or theorize all the things that could happen from UAA mail in an election that could be decided by fewer votes than the total pieces of UAA mail. Try thinking about how many people have been forced to move (change address) because of COVID-19. Or, think of all the people who did not get the first stimulus check because of UAA. I know of one person personally. Not to mention the always present attempts by other countries to affect our election processes.

“Undeliverable as Addressed Cost More than You Think” should be read by everyone, and especially by the people who make decisions about voting by mail. Finally, we should remember that mail is delivered to an address, not a person.

Gary W. Rodgers

Jonesboro