US Postal service warns states may miss mail-in ballot deadlines

The implication affects tens of millions of voters whose ballots could be discarded because of delays in delivery. 

(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has warned state election officials that the agency will not be able to fulfill requests for mail-in ballots before the Nov. 3 presidential election. 

The letters were reportedly sent to 40 states by USPS general counsel and executive vice president Thomas Marshall. It warns that state deadlines to request, return and count ballots will be impacted by the “inconsistencies” with its delivery service, The Hill reports. The agency is facing a grim financial future amid an overhaul by the Trump administration. 

“The letters advised election officials to be mindful of the potential inconsistencies between the Postal Service’s delivery standards, which have been in place for a number of years and have not changed, and the provisions of state law,” Martha Johnson, a spokesperson for the Postal Service, said in a statement.

Read More: Postal Service removing mail sorting machines as election nears

Johnson went on to say that the purpose of the letters was to help prepare state officials on how to best educate voters on when to request and return ballots “in accordance with the Postal Service’s mailing standards.” the letter states.

A July 20 letter to Pennsylvania officials noted that  “certain deadlines for requesting and casting mail-in ballots are incongruous with the Postal Service’s delivery standards” and could result in “a risk that ballots requested near the deadline under state law will not be returned by mail in time to be counted under your laws as we understand them,” per MSN.com.

The implication affects tens of millions of American voters eligible to vote by mail. Their ballots could be discarded because of delays in delivery. 

As theGRIO previously reported, mail-in ballots are expected to be heavily utilized due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic but recently Trump floated the idea that the upcoming election, in which he and presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden are vying for the presidency, should be pushed back due to possible fraud.

He has offered no proof to support these claims.

Read More: Postal Service backlog creates worry about November election

Postmaster general Louis DeJoy, meanwhile, has instituted policies that are slowing down the service, according to The Washington Post.

New policies that began July 13 include no overtime pay, closing sorting machines early, and a requirement that carriers leave mail behind when necessary as a means of avoiding extra trips.

DeJoy has reportedly given $2 million to GOP committees in the past four years.

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