US Postal Service warns of risk of delay for mail-in votes

Remigio Civitarese
Agosto 16, 2020

USPS says this is a normal operational procedure to make sure the majority of blue-steel mailboxes are placed in areas with high mail-traffic.

Neighbouring New Jersey is expected to announce on Friday that it will pre-emptively send ballots to every registered voter in the state.

Rod Spurgeon told NBC News and CNN of the policy change after the USPS faced criticism for removing the boxes.

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.

Trump has launched a battle against mail-in voting, which he fears would favor Democratic rival Joe Biden. State officials have also considered asking private express carriers to assist with election mail, and urged voters to request and cast their ballots early in the run-up to the November election.

"They want $25 billion for the post office".

"In particular, we want to note that, under our reading of Illinois' election laws, certain deadlines for requesting and casting mail-in ballots are incongruous with the Postal Service's delivery standards", the letter from USPS General Counsel Thomas Marshall reads.

He said the convenience and cost-effectiveness of the option are reasons why he's choosing to use them. It was unclear if the program was suspended in other states.

"There was no mention of any of that in this letter", Simon said.

"Some of the boxes scheduled to be removed from downtown Billings are almost overflowing daily", Ms Quilliam wrote in a Facebook message.

Only a handful of states have so far said they will be holding universal mail voting, meaning that voters will automatically receive a postal ballot ahead of the election - and a number of these did so before the pandemic.

All three asked for information on how the agency decided which boxes to remove and whether any more removals were planned.

"During the current public health crisis it is more important than ever the USPS continue to provide prompt, dependable delivery service", Mr Gianforte said.

For the most part, experts and employees say, the Postal Service is still capable of operating as usual.

"First-class mail volume has declined significantly in the US, especially since the pandemic", Ernie Swanson, a spokesman for the USPS, told The Oregonian/OregonLive.

FedEx spokesman John Scruggs said: "U.S. election absentee and mail-in ballots are predominantly handled by the U.S. Postal Service". Options include staffed, temporary collection sites, drop boxes, and drive-through sites.

Democrats, including former President Barack Obama, have accused Mr Trump of attacking postal voting and the USPS in a bid to "undermine the election".

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