The For the People Act is a voting rights bill currently under debate in the U.S. Senate. Two of its provisions include

  • expanding voting by mail, and
  • making election day a national holiday.

These two provisions seem to conflict with each other. The U.S. Postal Service is usually closed on national holidays, which in turn would interfere with the sending, processing, and delivery of mailed ballots. If the act becomes law, will the postal service still be open (and to what extent) on election day?

Update: It appears that the "For the People Act" has been superceded by the "Freedom to Vote Act." I actually started writing the question with "Freedom to Vote Act", but Wikipedia redirects that to the "For the People Act." Thinking I made a typo, I revised the question to "For the People Act." Turns out that (surprise!) Wikipedia is wrong.

As the two bills seem to cover the same provisions relevant to this question, I would accept an answer based on either bill.


1 Answer 1


You have to dig around a bit in the text of the bill, but it contains this requirement:

Same-day processing.—The United States Postal Service shall ensure, to the maximum extent practicable, that ballots are processed and cleared from any postal facility or post office on the same day the ballots are received at such a facility or post office.

It would seem that, if a state allows mail-in votes on election day, then under this act, the postal service would be required to process these on the same day that they are received.

But note:

Deadline for returning ballot.—A State may impose a reasonable deadline for requesting the absentee ballot and related voting materials from the appropriate State or local election official and for returning the ballot to the appropriate State or local election official.

So it would be normal for a state to require that mail-in votes are posted prior to election day.

  • 1
    I think ensuring that the ballot are processed is different then the post office being open. From my understanding they process mail every day of the year even if the offices themselves are not open to the public.
    – Joe W
    Commented Jan 17, 2022 at 19:24
  • Yes, so you'd expect the state to set a deadline for posting prior to election day, and so ballots posted on election day will miss that deadline and so not get counted.
    – James K
    Commented Jan 17, 2022 at 19:26
  • You would think that but 12 states allow for a ballot to be postmarked on election day. And most of those states have plenty of time for them to get delivered as long as someone isn't purposely delaying the mail
    – Joe W
    Commented Jan 17, 2022 at 19:26

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