The U.S. Postal Service has warned at least 46 states and Washington, D.C., that it cannot guarantee all ballots cast by mail will arrive in time for the November election as some states anticipate up to 10 times the normal volume of election mail.
Amid sweeping changes, cost-cutting moves and an increase in absentee voting, the agency sent letters at the end of July indicating that many states’ long-standing deadlines for requesting and returning ballots were “incongruous” with delivery standards and could lead to wide-spread voter disenfranchisement, the Washington Post reported.
“The Postal Service is asking election officials and voters to realistically consider how the mail works,” Martha Johnson, a spokeswoman for the USPS, told the Post.
Fears because of the coronavirus pandemic and an effort to reduce its spread led to an increase in mail-in voting which led to the agency developing the letter to states, the Post reported. In reaction, some states have moved the deadlines to request a ballot or cast one.
Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, who was not in charge when the letter was drafted, has drastically reduced overtime, decommissioned about 10% of its mail sorting equipment and banned additional trips to ensure on-time deliveries, the Post reported. He also reorganized operations, leading to several long-time employees leaving.