USPS warns mail-in votes might not arrive in time to be countedObama: president trying to ‘actively kneecap’ postal serviceThere are growing fears over the handling of November’s US presidential election after it emerged that the US Postal Service (USPS) has warned it cannot guarantee mail-in votes will be counted in almost every state in America and Barack Obama accused Donald Trump of trying to “discourage people from voting”.In letters to 46 states, and the District of Columbia, the USPS has warned that it could not guarantee all ballots cast by mail for the November election will arrive in time to be counted – possibly affecting tens of millions of votes across almost the whole country. Continue reading...
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This new report from the US Postal Service's internal watchdog warns that late ballots, bad envelope designs, and outdated registries could jeopardize voting in November
The US Postal Service's inspector general released a report this week laying out vote-by-mail problems as...The US Postal Service's inspector general released a report this week laying out vote-by-mail problems as the November election approaches. The watchdog warns that ballots will be mailed too close to the election. It also details problems with ballot designs and outdated voter registries. 'Mailers, election boards, and voters are likely to mail Election and Political Mail too close to an election,' the report says. The audit comes as Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, a longtime GOP megadonor, has been under fire for proposed cost-cutting measures at the agency. This audit doesn't account for DeJoy's proposed changes, which he said he would postpone. The IG's office is investigating those changes separately. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. A new report from the US Postal Service's internal watchdog spells out several potential problems with mail-in-voting, including a warning that voters could send ballots too close to Election Day and they won't be delivered in time to get officially counted. Other concerns in the 33-page report from USPS Inspector General Tammy Whitcomb's office include problems with ballot envelope designs, outdated voter registries and struggles with tracking ballots. The stakes are high for the post office, which has been drawn into the national political debate between President Donald Trump and his Democratic rival Joe Biden amid its own financial strains and an expectation that the coronavirus pandemic will spur more Americans than ever to avoid the polls and choose to vote by mail. "Timely delivery of Election and Political Mail is necessary to ensure the integrity of the U.S. election process," the USPS inspector general's office wrote. In addition to the presidential election, all 435 seats in the US House and 35 of the 100 seats in the US Senate are up for grabs around the country in November. Deadlines, deadlines, deadlines The inspector general office's findings come as mail-in-ballots and the Postal Service have emerged as flashpoints heading into the election. Louis DeJoy, a longtime GOP megadonor, has been criticized for announcing major cost-cutting structural changes at USPS shortly after he took over as postmaster general in June. After critics complained that DeJoy's changes were aimed at limiting mail-in voting, he changed course and said he'd suspend the planned overhaul until after the election. Under DeJoy's direction, the USPS deactivated mail-sorting machines at processing centers across the US. DeJoy had also announced changes to overtime policy and mail collection boxes were removed. Those efforts were blamed for additional mail slowdowns around the country. The new report from the post office's inspector general notes that it does not examine the recent operational changes at USPS or "the significant increases in delayed mail at delivery units experienced this summer." The watchdog office is separately investigating how those planned changes will impact mail service. Still, the report lays out several concerns that might slow down political and election mail this fall, including the late arrival of ballots back to the local government officials tasked with tabulating the results. "Mailers, election boards, and voters are likely to mail Election and Political Mail too close to an election," the report says. During the primary election season from June 2 through Aug. 13 of this year, election boards mailed more than 1 million ballots to voters late (within seven days of an election), according to Postal Service management. Election boards in Kentucky and New York accounted for 60% — more than 628,000 — of the ballots sent out late to voters, the Postal Service inspector general found. In 11 states, more than 44,000 ballots were sent from the election boards to voters the day of or day before the state's primary election. And in Pennsylvania, 500 ballots were sent from the election board to voters the day after the election. More red flags: Barcodes, envelope design and outdated registration lists Another problem could be a lack of barcodes on some ballots. There's no requirement for ballots to have barcodes, but the Postal Service and election board can't track the ballot envelopes that don't have them, the report says. Data analyzed from the 2018 midterm election showed that only 13% of election mail used barcodes. Voters might also get their ballots returned to them if their ballot envelopes are designed in a way that confuses sorting machines, the report says. For example, if an envelope contains more than two addresses or doesn't have the election office address included on the envelope, it might be returned to the sender. Outdated voter registration lists can also cause absentee ballots to be returned to election officials as undeliverable. "Some states only update voter address information every two years and run the risk of using outdated addresses for their registered residents who have moved," the audit found. That can cause absentee ballots to be returned to election officials as undeliverable. For its part, the Postal Service has "frequently communicated to state election officials the importance of ballot mailpiece tracking and design, the required timeframes for processing and delivering mail, and the importance of updating voter addresses," according to the audit. Looking beyond 2020, the IG report concludes that there's a need to develop a mail product that better addresses the requirements associated with voting by mail for future election cycles. Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Why electric planes haven't taken off yet
7 states are preparing to sue the Trump administration, hoping to block it from reducing postal service ahead of the election
Seven US states are considering lawsuits against the Trump administration to block reductions to the USPS...Seven US states are considering lawsuits against the Trump administration to block reductions to the USPS ahead of the November 3 presidential election, according to multiple media reports. Virginia, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Washington and North Carolina are among them, per The Washington Post. The New York Times reported that New York was also considering action. President Donald Trump is blocking funding to the USPS to stop mail-in voting, which he claims is exposed to electoral fraud. But there is no evidence that mail-in votes are exposed to widespread fraud. Democrats have accused Trump of seeking to sabotage the election. Nancy Pelosi on Sunday announced a recall of the House of Representatives to address the crisis at the USPS. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. Seven US states are considering lawsuits against the Trump administration to prevent it further reducing the ability of the US Postal Service to process mail-in votes, according to reports. Six states — Virginia, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Washington and North Carolina — are in discussions over how best to sue the Trump administration, reported The Washington Post. Their aims are to prevent operational changes or funding lapses that could affect the forthcoming presidential election. The Post said that the states will likely announce the lawsuits early this week. One of the states in question has a Republican governor — Charlie Baker of Massachusetts — while the other five states are led by Democrats. Two of the states — Pennsylvania and North Carolina — voted for Trump in 2016, with the other four backing Hillary Clinton. The New York Times reported that New York was also among the states considering legal action. Mark R. Herring, the attorney general of Virginia, said: "We are going to make sure that every American's vote counts this fall, whether cast by mail or in person. "My colleagues and I are working as we speak to determine what Trump and [US Postmaster General Louis] DeJoy are doing, whether they have already violated or are likely to violate any laws, and what tools we have at our disposal to put a stop to President Trump's ongoing attack on our Postal Service and our democracy." Pennsylvania, Minnesota and North Carolina are all considered swing states, whose vote will be pivotal in this year's presidential race. The move comes amid growing criticism of Trump's opposition to extra funding to the US Postal Service, and changes made by DeJoy that have reduced the capacity of the service to efficiently process mail. Both Democratic and Republican lawmakers have urged voters to consider voting by mail to avoid the risk of worsening the coronavirus pandemic by in-person voting, which often involves long lines. There is expected to be a huge surge in mail-in ballots this year. Trump has claimed that mail-in voting is exposed to widespread fraud, an untrue claim dismissed by election officials and election experts speaking to FactCheck.Org last week. Voter fraud does exist in mail-in voting, the experts said, but at very low levels. They concluded that safeguards against such fraud are robust. On Friday, the USPS wrote to 46 US states warning that it could not assure that ballots sent by mail would be delivered in time to be counted in the election, according to Axios. Trump currently trails presumptive Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden in national polls. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Sunday announced that the House of Representatives would be recalled early to discuss the mail-in voting crisis. Pelosi said she would call on lawmakers to vote on a bill to block the USPS from introducing changes that would slow the delivery of mail before the end of the year. In a statement released on Sunday, Pelosi accused President Trump of a "campaign to sabotage the election."Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: July 15 is Tax Day — here's what it's like to do your own taxes for the very first time
A United States Postal Service spokesperson told NBC News that the service would pause its plans...A United States Postal Service spokesperson told NBC News that the service would pause its plans to remove any blue collection boxes before the election. Some images and reports of the blue boxes being removed from the street sparked concerns over whether voters could secure their mail-in ballots for the November election. On Friday, The Washington Post reported that amid cost-cutting measures interrupting service, USPS officials warned 46 states and Washington, DC, that they may not be able to deliver all ballots in time for the election. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. A United States Postal Service spokesperson said officials will not "be removing any boxes" before the election, as concerns over delayed mail delivery potentially jeopardize delivering ballots in time for November. Since taking over the role in June, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy has imposed a number of cost-cutting measures across the system, including eliminating overtime and late dispatch hours. These measures have been reported to cause compounding delays in mail delivery, raising concerns for voters who fear their ballots may too delayed to be counted for the upcoming presidential election. USPS spokesperson Rod Spurgeon told NBC News on Friday that the agency would hold off until the election, when officials will reevaluate operations. Spurgeon's reassurance came after several posts on social media said mailboxes were being removed by trucks. They’re legit taking the mailboxes off the street. Cheating 101. pic.twitter.com/hkXcV5vtBH — Isaac Hayes III (@IsaacHayes3) August 14, 2020 More mailboxes being taken off the streets in Oregon.... pic.twitter.com/07JHqbptEr — Georgiana Steele-Wal (@georgeegirl) August 13, 2020 Presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden balked at the reports of the service hauling away collection boxes, saying on Friday photos and reports of removals out of Oregon were "bizarre." On Friday, The Washington Post reported that USPS notified 46 states and Washington DC that they may not be able to fully deliver all ballots via mail in time for the November election. Business Insider's Grace Panetta reported that voters should request ballots as soon as possible. Amid concerns for tardy ballots, President Donald Trump said earlier this week he would not provide additional funding for the postal service, but later said he would sign a bill that included emergency funds for the service. Concerns for votes and delayed mail provoked at least one group to organize dozens of demonstrators outside DeJoy's Washington, DC, home on Saturday.SEE ALSO: What you need to know about US Postal Service's funding crisis, and how it could impact your vote in the November election Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: A cleaning expert reveals her 3-step method for cleaning your entire home quickly