The United States government has announced that it may withdraw from the Universal Postal Union (UPU) because of unfair costs to people and corporations who mail items from outside of the U.S. This possible change in postal agreements could have a significant impact on the cost and processes used by election officials throughout the country to mail traditional military and overseas citizens' ballots in the upcoming elections.

Charleston, W.Va. – The United States government has announced that it may withdraw from the Universal Postal Union (UPU) because of unfair costs to people and corporations who mail items from outside of the U.S. This possible change in postal agreements could have a significant impact on the cost and processes used by election officials throughout the country to mail traditional military and overseas citizens’ ballots in the upcoming elections.
 
Through the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS), WV Secretary of State Mac Warner and his colleagues sent a letter to President Donald Trump on Wednesday expressing their concerns on the effect the UPU decision could have on absentee ballots (SEE LETTER ATTACHED). Whatever decision is made regarding the future relationship with the UPU, Warner and NASS want military and overseas voters to have access to ballots.
 
However, regardless of whether the U.S. withdraws from the UPU or not, West Virginia is able offer alternate methods of ballot delivery to deployed military and overseas citizens with the Military Mobile Voting Solution, which was piloted during the 2018 election cycle in West Virginia.
 
“The mobile voting option proved successful for West Virginia in the 2018 primary and general elections,” Warner said. “After post-election audits and reviewing other audits and security testing from around the country on this solution, I’m convinced that mobile voting for military and overseas voters is a viable and secure option for every state that allows the electronic transmission of election ballots.” 
 
“Mobile voting is a viable alternative now that withdrawal from the UPU presents possible disenfranchisement of the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines who put their lives on the line every day to protect our democracy.”
 
West Virginia’s 2018 pilot of a military and overseas mobile voting application allowed eligible voters to use their cell phones or tablets to request a digital version of their ballot. Once the ballot was received, a voter then made their selections and returned the ballot via a secure network. The West Virginia mobile solution is the most accessible and private electronic ballot delivery system used in the history of U.S. elections.
 
“It’s good to have a technologically proven option already in place,” Warner said.  “We are planning to offer local election officials in all 55 West Virginia counties the option to use mobile voting in 2020. West Virginia voters serving overseas who use the mobile voting option should not be impacted by anything that happens with the UPU.”
 
To learn more about West Virginia’s military and overseas mobile voting program and to watch a video on how the application works, visit sos.wv.gov/elections/Pages/MobileVote.aspx. For a white paper on the pilot project, visit sos.wv.gov/FormSearch/Elections/Informational/West-Virginia-Mobile-Voting-White-Paper-NASS-Submission.pdf.