IMAGINE living in one state and having the United States Postal Service assign you a mailing address in another state.
As preposterous as that may sound, that's what some northern Missouri residents living in rural, sparsely populated counties along the border with Iowa have been dealing with for decades, with no explanation as to why.
U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri is demanding answers. According to the Associated Press, she sent a letter to Postmaster General Megan J. Brennan last week, asking that the U.S. Postal Service "take immediate action" on behalf of Missouri residents who have been given Iowa mailing addresses.
"The notion that Missouri residents have faced numerous hassles for decades because they have an Iowa mailing address is one of the dumbest things I've come across," McCaskill told the AP. "This needs to get fixed."
The Associated Press reported that the exact number of affected residents in Atchison, Mercer, Putnam, Schuyler, Scotland and Clark counties is unknown -- or why the Postal Service assigned them Iowa mailing addresses in the first place. However, what is known is that about 30 Clark County residents continue to be affected.
Clark County Clerk Jena Church told the AP the quirk causes several problems.
For example, Church said voter registration is made more difficult because Iowa addresses aren't recognized in Missouri's voting system, requiring those Clark County residents to file provisional ballots.
In addition, Church said, several of the affected Missouri residents have been told by the state of Iowa they should be filing returns to Iowa because of their addresses. She said the confusion can also slow the process of obtaining a death certificate and even make it more difficult to collect life insurance after a relative has died.
Church said local officials have been seeking help from the Postal Service for years to no avail. She said the problem rose to the forefront again earlier this year when some residents launched a petition drive to get addresses changed because Clark County is adopting a new 911 system, meaning accurate addresses will be essential.
McCaskill serves on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, which has jurisdiction over the Postal Service. She has long sought to improve mail delivery, especially in rural communities that have dealt with the closure of some smaller postal facilities through cost-cutting measures.
Clearly, this is a problem that should not exist. The Postal Service needs to remedy a situation that is causing some northern Missouri residents unnecessary headaches.