Postal Service's financial stress might hurt its ability to handle large volume of mail-in ballots

Posted 11 days ago

From WWW.CNBC.COM

As the coronavirus pandemic forces adjustments in 2020 races, some states worry that financial disruptions at the U.S. Postal Service may lead to decreased voter turnout in the general election.

More than a dozen states are already preparing for the November election, with the anticipation that more voters will choose mail-in ballots over in-person voting. If the USPS continues to endure financial stress, there are concerns that it may not be able to effectively carry out the expected onslaught of mail-in ballots for the election.

“The Office of the Secretary of State has become increasingly concerned about the declining revenue of the United States Postal Service,” said Kylee Zabel, communications director at the Washington state election agency. “If the USPS diminishes, or interruptions in mail service occur, every single state will have to mitigate the impacts to their by-mail voters.” Washington state is one of five that conduct voting entirely by mail.

Hawaii, which also conducts all-mail voting, worries that the pandemic might “affect our timeline in mailing and receiving ballots,” said Nedielyn Bueno, head of voter services in the state’s Office of Elections. “We are in contact with our local USPS representatives and our federal partners to stay informed of any shift in postal service.”

Other states told CNBC they regularly touch base with their local USPS offices for updates.

“We are continuing to follow that situation and will address any issues with mail service as it regards elections, should they arise,” said Kristen Muszynski, director of communications at the Maine Department of the Secretary of State.

In Rhode Island, the Board of Election is “in regular contact” with the local postmaster, informing the office of “large mailings,” according to deputy director of elections Miguel Nunez.

“We have also requested that [they] make us aware of any local service interruptions that could potentially delay the return of ballots to us from voters,” Nunez told CNBC....(Read more)



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