Baltimore postal facility sat on 68,000 pieces of election mail for 5 days before primary

An audit of the Baltimore postal facility found that no ballots were delayed

A postal service facility in Baltimore, Maryland sat on 68,000 pieces of political mail for five days before the June 2 primary, according to an audit.

The audit by the Postal Service’s Office Inspector General (OIG), which was published Monday, was done for the purpose of evaluating, “the U.S. Postal Service’s readiness for timely processing of Election and Political Mail for the 2020 general elections.” Their findings found that the delayed mail sent on May 12 “sat unprocessed” before it came to the attention of management.

Read More: Postal service informs managers not to reconnect mail sorting machines

Post Office Deals With Busiest Mail Day Of The Year
Postal worker Martin Jackson sorts parcels at the Merrifield Postal Center December 20, 2004, in Merrifield, Virginia. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

OIG did not specify which type of political mail went unattended but they were not ballots cast, of which 1.6M were sent. The June primary focused on mayor, comptroller, and city council president races. Many of those candidates sent out pamphlets meant to sway voters. Some have begun to connect the delay in processing the mail and their defeats.

Despite being an incumbent, Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young placed fifth in his Democratic race.

“That might the reason why I didn’t get a lot of votes,” Young said, as reported by the Baltimore Sun.

Democratic mayoral candidate T.J. Smith had similar concerns. He mailed literature to voters but worried that ballots were potentially compromised.

“I think it warrants being looked into to ensure that it wasn’t maliciously done,” Smith said.

Baltimore, Brooklyn, New York; Charleston, West Virginia; and Portland, Oregon were locations pinpointed by the Postal Service’s Inspector General who wanted to determine what improvements could be made at facilities.

Mail-In Ballots Are Processed For Washington's Primary Election
Ballot envelopes sit in a box at the King County Elections headquarters earlier this month. (Photo by David Ryder/Getty Images)

As theGrio previously reported, there has been criticism of recent decisions by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy which included restricting overtime for employees and removing mailboxes. Employees also shared that postal machines were being dismantled.

Democrats have accused DeJoy of acting in bad faith in an effort to help President Donald Trump in the upcoming election by slowing down the mail. Trump has repeatedly criticized the use of mail-in voting. OIG did offer a template on how to manage the delays and prevent further ones.

Read More: House Dems summon postal leaders to hearing on mail delays

“Resolving these issues will require higher level partnerships and cooperation between the Postal Service and various state officials, including secretaries of state and state election boards,” the OIG said. “Timely delivery of Election and Political Mail is necessary to ensure the integrity of the U.S. election process.”

A regional spokeswoman for the Postal Service maintained that the agency is determined that the public will receive their mail on time, in particular for the Nov.3 election.

“We employ a robust and proven process to ensure proper handling of all election mail, including ballots,” Freda Sauter said.

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