The PO is an agent for the Department of State to check paperwork, photos, etc., before forwarding the application to a passport issuing agent. The PO does not issue passports. My local city hall also accepts applications, which is where I turned in my app and photos last year when I last renewed. My local County Clerk (or is it the County Recorder? I forget.) is also an accepting agent.
Since the PO is an inept organization I prefer to use them as little as possible.
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