With less than two weeks before the Nov. 4 election, Georgetown Mail Services is prioritizing the delivery of absentee ballots in an effort to ensure students are able to vote on time.

George Montgomery, the operations manager of the mail services, said his department understands the importance of absentee ballots and is making an effort to deliver them to students on the same day they are received.

“The nature of what is in these mailings – the absentee ballots – gets priority,” he said.

Absentee voting, which ends on the Saturday before Election Day, allows students who are registered to vote in another state to participate in their home state’s election from elsewhere. The deadline for submitting these ballots varies by state, but is usually within days of Nov. 4.

ail services employees often receive correspondence that does not include all the necessary information of the addressee, which delays delivery of the mail.

“All of the mail has to be looked through and then organized and put into trays,” Montgomery said. “Some [mailings] don’t have people’s box numbers on them; some have last year’s box number; and some have the wrong box number. So we have to look them up in the directory, and that takes time.”

While typical mailings vary in size and content, absentee packages are more recognizeable.

“The absentee mailings usually have a larger envelope and are easily identified,” Montgomery said. “We usually pick those out first and have same-day delivery on those.”

After receiving their absentee ballots, students now have less than two weeks to return them by mail or fax.

Although an estimate, Montgomery said some mailings take as long as a week to arrive in students’ mailboxes after they are received in the off-campus Mail Services Center. Some students have found the delay to be even longer.

According to Ricky Barrios (COL ’09), who works for the Residential Housing Office in Village C, packages are handled significantly faster than ordinary mail.

“It usually takes 15 minutes,” he said of the time required to e-mail students when they have received a new package. “About 50 percent of them pick them up on the same day.”

ail Services is a branch of Auxiliary Services, which includes the university’s business partners such as Zipcar, the UPS Store and Chevy Chase Bank. RHOs are managed directly by the university’s housing department.

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