Millions have Elvis ballots in their hands or in the mail

April 13, 1992|By Jean Marbella | Jean Marbella,Staff Writer

All of Hawaii ran out on the first day, and Bloomington, Ind., of all places, has run dry as well. In the Baltimore area, they're still available at some locations, but not others, although more are on their way.

The 5 million ballots that the U.S. Postal Service began distributing a week ago asking the public if it wants a younger or an older Elvis Presley on an upcoming stamp have been flying out of post offices. But not all of them are coming back in to be tallied.

"There must be some people taking a lot of them at a time, thinking they're going to be collectors' items some day," said Robin Minard, a postal service spokeswoman.

To those of you doing that -- and you know who you are -- don't be cruel.

"Leave some for everyone," Ms. Minard said. "We don't mind if you take one home and put it in a drawer to save, but we're not a printing factory, and we can't print endless numbers of these."

Thousands of ballots have been turned in, but Ms. Minard did not know how many or what the early vote total is because a private company under contract to the postal service is handling the poll.

About 5 million ballots were also inserted in the April 13 issue of People magazine. But you don't even need a ballot to vote: You can simply write a letter or postcard indicating your preference and mail it to Elvis Poll, P. O. Box Elvis, Memphis, Tenn., 38101-1001.

Balloting continues through April 24. The postal service will announce the results June 4 at Mr. Presley's home, Graceland. The stamp will be issued next year as part of the Legends of American Music series.

Promoting the stamp will cost about $150,000 to $200,000, Ms. Minard said, but that's a small price to pay for the expected payoff: The Elvis stamp is projected to make more than the $160 million that most commemorative stamps make.

"This stamp is going to be saved -- it's not going to end up on a lot of letters," Ms. Minard said. "So that's pure profit for us."

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