As the Nation’s oldest federal law enforcement agency, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service has a storied history of securing the U.S. Mail during election periods throughout American history.
War of 1812
During War of 1812, there were only three Post Office Special Agents assigned to mail security for the entire nation.
By 1864, Post Office Special Agents supervised the transportation and delivery of mail to Union troops during the Civil War. With thousands of men deployed far from home, most of the states in the Union granted absentee voting for its military service members for the 1864 presidential race between incumbent Republican Abraham Lincoln and Democratic candidate George McClellan. During the Civil War, David B. Parker supervised the transportation and delivery of mail to Union troops. Parker, who became a Special Agent and later Chief Inspector, re-established mail service as southern states returned to the Union.
World War II
During World War II, 247 Inspectors serving in the military services organized a mail system for the troops — the Army Post Offices, called APOs, and the Fleet Post Offices or FPOs. The system was so effective that what they established still remains as today’s military mail system.