Ayyyeee… What’s Goodie Everyone. So I got some tea and it involves the United States Postal Service and the economics surrounding it during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The U.S. Postal Service recently sent letters to 46 states and D.C. warning that it cannot guarantee that all ballots cast by mail for the November election will arrive in time to be counted. This will adding another layer of uncertainty ahead of the high-stakes presidential contest.
The letters sent speaks a grim possibility for the millions of Americans eligible for a mail in ballot this fall: Even if people follow all of their state’s election rules, the pace of Postal Service delivery may disqualify their votes.
The ballot warnings were issued at the end of July from Thomas J. Marshall, general counsel and executive vice president of the Postal Service. The documents were obtained through a records request by The Washington Post.
Some states are to anticipate 10 times the normal volume of election mail. Six states and D.C.. These postal services received warnings that ballots could be delayed for a narrow set of voters. But the Postal Service gave 40 others including the key battleground states of Michigan, Pennsylvania and Florida more serious warnings that their long standing deadlines for requesting, returning or counting ballots were “incongruous” with mail service and that voters who send ballots in close to those deadlines may become disenfranchised.
In response to the Postal Service’s warnings, a few states have quickly moved deadlines forcing voters to request or cast ballots earlier, or deciding to delay tabulating results while waiting for more ballots to arrive.
United States president Donald Trump has repeatedly claimed without evidence that mail ballots lead to widespread voter fraud and in the process politicized the USPS. This week, he said he opposes emergency funding for the agency which has repeatedly requested more resources because of Democratic efforts to expand mail voting.
The Postal Service’s structural upheaval alone has led experts and lawmakers from both parties to worry about timely delivery of prescription medications and Social Security checks, as well as ballots.
The machine reductions, together with existing mail delays and a surge of packages a boon to the Postal Service’s finances but a headache for an organization designed to handle paper rather than boxes also risk hamstringing the agency as the election approaches and have led lawmakers to hike pressure on officials to rescind the directives.
Service changes last month, has drastically reduced overtime and banned extra trips to ensure on time mail delivery. The wholesale reorganizations ousted several agency veterans in key operational roles. The USPS is currently decommissioning 10 percent of its costly and bulky mail sorting machines, which workers say could hinder processing of election mail, according to a grievance filed by the American Postal Workers Union and obtained by The Washington Post. Those 671 machines, scattered across the country but concentrated in high population areas, have the capacity to sort 21.4 million pieces of paper mail per hour.
Even without the emergency funding Trump vowed to block, postal workers can handle the country’s mail-in ballots with proper planning, the head of their union said.
“Piece of cake for postal workers,” said Mark Dimondstein, president of the American Postal Workers Union.
An example occured in New York City, a 17 fold increase in mail-in ballots left results of a June congressional primary race in doubt for six weeks. During court wrangling over it, USPS workers said elections officials had dropped off 34,000 blank absentee ballots at a Brooklyn processing center on the day before the election, leaving postal workers scrambling in an attempt to deliver them overnight. Some voters received ballots after the election, and tens of thousands of voted ballots were initially thrown out because of delayed receipt.
Here is the letters sent out to the U.S postal service.
U.S. Postal Service letters to states – The Washington Post
Mail carriers have warned that new cost-cutting measures at the USPS are slowing the delivery of mail ballots in key states. Recent contests have offered a preview of the potential consequences, with voters particularly in urban areas such as Detroit and the Bronx complaining that their absentee ballots did not arrive until the last minute or at all.
The problems added to the cost cutting measures a late returned ballot was the chief reason absentee or mail ballots were disqualified during the 2016 election, according to U.S. Election Assistance Commission data submitted to Congress.
Eighteen states plus D.C. have eased and expanded access to mail ballots during the pandemic allowing concerned voters to avoid potential exposure to the virus at polling places. These policy shifts have brought the number of Americans who are eligible to cast mail or absentee ballots in the general election to a historic high of nearly 180 million, roughly 97 million of whom will automatically receive an absentee ballot or an absentee ballot request form in the mail, according to a tally conducted by The Washington Post.
This article is bought to your courtesy of the Washington Post and it’s not to be copied.