Mail delays escalated over the last 3 days in critical battleground states

Mail delays escalated over the last 3 days in critical battleground states
Image via Shutterstock.

The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) is operating under a judicial order to report its on-time performance every day, and those reports are trending badly in some key battleground states. For the third day in a row, on Sunday it reported moving fewer ballots on time than the previous day,

That puts ballots in the system at risk of not being received in time in 28 states that require ballots be received on or before Election Day. The USPS reported moving 97% of ballots on time Wednesday, then 93% on Friday, and 91% on Saturday. That's at a national level. In battleground states, the on-time rate is below 90% and in some of these states, it's disastrously low. In central Pennsylvania, the on-time rate for ballots was just 62% on Saturday. Atlanta's was just 64%, same as ballots processed in Maine and New Hampshire. Less than half—43%—of ballots were on time Saturday in Colorado. Colorado conducts its elections by mail, sending ballots to everyone, with some in-person early voting. Ballots there must be received by Election Day. "Arizona, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Carolina, the rest of Pennsylvania and parts of Texas and Florida were under the 90% mark as well," CNN reports.

Meanwhile in South Miami-Dade County, Florida, the discovery of four dozen undelivered ballots sitting in a post office last Friday has prompted an investigation and sweep of mail facilities to make sure there aren't more ballots sitting around. The majority of those discovered ballots, 42, were going to voters, and 24 of them were delivered on Saturday. The rest were destined for voters who had already voted early in person or had already obtained replacement ballots. Six of them had been voted, and are now at the elections office. A concerned postal worker alerted State Rep. Kionne McGhee about the backlog of mail, including the abandoned ballots, at their facility with a video that McGhee released. Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernández Rundle immediately called for a search of every mail distribution center on Friday evening, but it's not clear as of now how extensively the USPS is responding—they're not saying how many centers are being searched. The mail problem isn't news to Miami-Dade residents, though. As of Friday, 70,000 of them who had requested mail-in ballots had cancelled them to vote early in person.

In some areas nationally, the USPS has set up processes where ballots are postmarked and taken directly to elections offices, not going through the regular mail process. Judge Emmet Sullivan and Stanley Bastian of the Eastern District of Washington—the federal judges who have taken on oversight of the mail—are considering what other steps can be taken to get all the ballots delivered in those states where they have to be on Tuesday. That included mail collection on Sunday on some routes, early collections on Monday and Tuesday, and carriers checking "every residential mailbox" for outgoing ballots. Some post offices will set up drop-off areas for ballots, all to be directly delivered to elections offices.

At this point, there should not be any more ballots going in the mail—last Tuesday was really the deadline for that. If you've got a ballot at home, don't mail it. Take it to a drop box or your local elections office. As you're making your GOTV calls, be sure to advise voters that it's too late to rely on the regular mail.

It's another motivating factor for voters—we've got to elect Democrats to oust Trump's saboteurs at the USPS, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, and the board of governors who have happily worked to destroy the institution.

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