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US Postal Service warns of mail-in election vote delays

August 15, 2020

Voters may not have their votes counted in time for the November election after the US Postal Service chief warned of delays. Postmaster Louis DeJoy, a Donald Trump ally, has come under scrutiny over his financial ties.

US Postal Service
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/newscom/UPI/K. Dietsch

The US Postal Service warned on Friday that it cannot guarantee all votes for the November presidential election will arrive in time to be counted, even if sent before state deadlines, increasing the likelihood that millions of Americans may not have their ballot tallied.

The organization is anticipating an unprecedented number of postal votes due to the coronavirus pandemic and the warning raises the possibility that many citizens will not have their ballot counted in time, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy said in his letter to Democratic congressional leaders, adding that it was not their intent. 

Read more: US presidential election: Will mail-in ballots work smoothly?

The postal service is merely "asking elected officials and voters to realistically consider how the mail works, and be mindful of our delivery standards, in order to provide voters ample time to cast ballots through the mail," wrote he wrote.  

DeJoy — who has donated $2.7 million (€2.3 million) to Trump and his fellow Republicans since 2017 — assumed the role of Postmaster in May 2020.

DeJoy also owns millions of dollars in stock in Postal Service rivals and customers, according to a financial disclosure form filed by his wife.

The warning letters were first reported by US daily The Washington Post.

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Casting doubts

DeJoy's warning comes as the postal service's watchdog steps up efforts to look into how the organization is run.

The US Postal Service Office of Inspector General is investigating reports of service disruptions and other concerns raised by lawmakers, the office of Senator Elizabeth Warren said on Friday.

"We have learned that the United States Postal Service Office of the Inspector General is investigating all aspects of our request from August 7 and that they've already requested documents as part of the review," Warren's deputy of communications director Saloni Sharma said.

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A spokeswoman for Postal Service Inspector General Tammy Whitcomb said the office is "in receipt of the congressional request and are conducting a body of work to address concerns raised."

The letter from several US lawmakers asked for "a thorough audit of all operational changes put in place in recent weeks to determine the rationale behind these changes, if any analyses of their impact were conducted before implementation, their effect on the quality of mail delivery, and how it will impact services needed for the 2020 election."

Postmaster DeJoy has implemented operational changes and a clampdown on overtime in an effort to reduce the burden on the financially troubled service, which reported a net loss of $2.2 billion in the last quarter.

Earlier this week, Senator Warren said: "Donald Trump has undermined and corrupted our most popular government agency —the Postal Service."

She described DeJoy as a "Republican mega-donor, a Trump loyalist and a walking conflict of interest."

jsi/stb (AP, Reuters)