US Post Office 'can't guarantee' all November ballots will be counted

Remigio Civitarese
Agosto 16, 2020

The USPS, which has always been in financial trouble and carries about $160bn (£122bn) in debt, sent letters to states across the US in July warning that it could not guarantee that all mail votes would arrive in time to be counted.

Former President Barack Obama accused President Trump on Friday of trying to "actively kneecap" the US Postal Service to suppress mail-in votes at the November election.

The Postal Service has warned some states that allowing voters to request ballots less than a week before the election does not leave enough time to print the ballot, mail it to the voter and have it returned. They asked for copies of "any letters or guidance sent to state or local election officials regarding the service standards that will be applied to election mail".

The Postal Service is in the process of removing 671 high-speed mail-sorting machines nationwide this month, a process that will eliminate 21.4 million items per hour worth of processing capability from the agency's inventory.

Letter carriers load mail trucks for deliveries at a US Postal Service facility in McLean, Virginia.

"These actions set my hair on fire and they have real life implications for folks in rural America and their ability to access critical postal services like paying their bills and voting in upcoming elections", Senator Jon Tester, a Democrat, said. This push has been met with vehement opposition from President Donald Trump and Republicans, who argue that universal mail-in voting is ripe for fraud. He believes the changes are meant to degrade public confidence in the mail and discourage people from voting by mail in November.

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and some other Democratic lawmakers are also seeking a review of DeJoy's policy changes. "They need that money in order to have the post office work so it can take all of these millions and millions of ballots", Trump said in an interview with Fox Business's Maria Bartiromo. "If they don't get those two items, that means you can't have universal mail-in voting because they're not equipped to have it".

Each day, when Nick Casselli, president of a Philadelphia postal workers union, sits down at his desk on Main Street in the historic town of Darby, where trolley cars still run and the post office is a source of civic pride, his phone is full of alarmed messages about increasing delays in mail delivery.

"To state it simply: voters who apply for mail-in ballots in the last week of the application period and return their completed ballot by mail will, through no fault of their own, likely be disenfranchised", the document added.

"Sure, if they gave us what we want".

The Postal Service's top lawyer, Thomas Marshall, also encouraged election officials to use its first-class mail service to ensure prompt delivery, rather than the cheaper and slower bulk-mail rate. "We are here to stay", said Carmen Flores, District Liason, NALC Branch 36.

In a viral Twitter post on Thursday, author and radio host David Rothkopf said there was a "big opportunity" for UPS and FedEx to deliver ballots for free.

A New Jersey lawmaker submitted a criminal referral to the state attorney general to investigate President Trump and postal chief Louis DeJoy, for the "subversion" of state election laws, he announced Friday night.

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