Postal service warns Wisconsin, 45 other states mailed ballots could arrive late
WASHINGTON, D.C. (WKBT) — The U.S. Postal Service sent letters to Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, 43 other states and the District of Columbia warning that it cannot guarantee that all mail-in ballots for the Nov. 3 election will arrive in time to be counted.
That revelation came Friday in several media reports, although the main source, The Washington Post, noted that the letters actually went out in July. The warnings apparently are based on the states’ election deadlines.
The only states that didn’t receive letters are Oregon, Nevada, New Mexico and Rhode Island, according to reports. The letters warned six states — California, Colorado, Hawaii, Utah, Vermont, Washington — and D.C. that ballots could be delayed for a “narrow set of voters.”
The other 40 states received “heightened warnings” that ballots may arrive after deadlines, according to the reports.
Postal Service spokeswoman Martha Johnson issued a statement saying, “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.”
They are intended to help states educate voters about when to request their ballots and to return their completed ballots in accordance with Postal Service’s mailing standards,” Johnson’s statement said.
Johnson also acknowledged the dramatic increase expected in election-related mail because of the COVID-19 pandemic. USPS “is asking election officials and voters to realistically consider how the mail works, and to be mindful of our delivery standards, in order to provide voters ample time to cast their votes through the mail,” she said.
The letters came in advance of jousting between President Donald Trump and voter rights advocates.
Trump, who plans to vote by mail himself, insists that mailed ballots are susceptible to fraudulent voting and wants to ban the practice.
Voting rights advocates contend that the president and other Republicans are trying to suppress votes. They, mail carriers and postal unions also cite new Postal Service protocols they say could result in a mail slowdown.
The Postal Service is bracing for an unprecedented number of mail-in ballots because many people don’t want to vote in person because of the coronavirus pandemic.
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