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Carper, Coons request information on election mail delays, postal services

Delaware News Desk

Sens. Tom Carper and Chris Coons, both D-Delaware, joined Sens. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minnesota, and Chuck Schumer, D-New York, in sending a letter Aug. 24 to state election officials, requesting they provide information on the impact of any delays to election mail that their state has experienced, the delivery time and prices for election mail that their state is accustomed to, changes they have made to state requirements in light of election mail delays and other important information for investigating operational and policy changes at the U.S. Postal Service. 

The letter follows reports that the Postal Service sent letters to 46 states warning that their deadlines for election mail conflict with USPS delivery times and could result in ballots arriving after state deadlines and voters being disenfranchised. The Postal Service also indicated that changes to long-standing practices at USPS that would result in increased delivery times and costs for election mail may still go forward.

“On Aug. 6, we launched a Senate investigation into the U.S. Postal Service after numerous reports surfaced of changes to USPS policy that have resulted in delays in processing and delivering mail,” wrote the senators. “We are concerned that these recent operational changes will undermine the delivery of election mail and make it more expensive for jurisdictions to send and receive election mail and ballots in a timely way. On Aug. 18, USPS announced it was suspending certain operational changes until after the November election. However, our investigation will continue to understand the impact these changes may have already had on elections this year and their potential impact if implemented in the future. This letter represents a request for information as part of our investigation.”

“Experts and election officials have predicted that there will be an unprecedented number of Americans voting by mail in November, and we have already seen a dramatic increase in the number of voters choosing to vote by mail in primaries since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic,” continued the senators. “Many state and local election officials have taken measures to expand voting by mail, including automatically sending ballots and ballot applications to all registered voters so they can vote safely from home. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended election officials, where available, ‘offer alternative voting methods that minimize direct contact and reduce crowd size at polling locations.’”

Earlier in August, Carper and Coons joined Senate Democrats in an initial letter urging U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy to provide answers regarding reports of recent changes to long-standing practices at USPS that would result in increased delivery times and costs for election mail, and urged him not to take any further action that makes it harder and more expensive for states and election jurisdictions to mail ballots. 

Following that initial letter, Carper and Coons joined Senate Democrats in an additional letter to DeJoy calling for oversight over the issue of delays following changes. The senators called on DeJoy to testify before Congress and provide clear, transparent answers on service delays that have caused seniors and veterans to miss their prescription medications, small businesses to lose money and customers over delayed packages and other serious disruptions that affect communities across the country who count on the Postal Service for timely delivery.

Last week, Coons joined Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Connecticut, in a letter to DeJoy to raise concerns over the heightened impact of harmful USPS policy and operational changes to servicemembers and their families. Because USPS is the only service that can deliver to the Army Post Office and Fleet Post Office addresses used by our military overseas, deployed servicemembers and their families are uniquely impacted by changes that have left USPS “intentionally hamstrung and severely strained.”

The full text of the letter is available at bit.ly/3j9ayd5.