The US Postal Service (USPS) has warned that hundreds of thousands of mail-in votes might not arrive in time to be counted on the presidential election day, 3 November.
In letters to states throughout the nation final month, the company stated “certain deadlines… are incongruous with the Postal Service’s delivery standards”.
Critics have blamed the brand new USPS head – a loyal supporter of President Donald Trump – for a slowdown in deliveries.
A document variety of persons are anticipated to vote by mail as a result of pandemic.
Mr Trump has repeatedly stated that mail-in ballots will support his rival Democrat Joe Biden, and result in voting fraud. Experts say the mail-in voting system – which is utilized by the American navy and by Mr Trump himself – is protected from tampering.
The company has lengthy been in monetary hassle, carrying about $160bn (£122bn) in debt.
The new Postmaster General Louis DeJoy – a serious Republican donor – has launched adjustments corresponding to clamping down on additional time and halting late supply journeys. But critics say the overhauls have led to a rise in mail wait instances.
On Thursday, Mr Trump stated he was blocking extra funding for the USPS to assist with election points as a result of he opposed mail-in voting.
Former President Barack Obama strongly criticised what he described as Mr Trump’s “attempts to undermine the election”, writing on Twitter that the administration was “more concerned with suppressing the vote than suppressing a virus”.
The high two Democrats in Congress, Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, additionally weighed in on the controversy on Friday, calling on Mr DeJoy to “quickly reverse his operational changes that have led to delays and service reductions for too many Americans and threaten to undermine our democracy”.
“House and Senate Democrats call on the President to immediately cease his assault on the Postal Service, make clear that he will allow the 2020 election to proceed without his sabotage tactics,” they added in an announcement.
What did the USPS say?
The USPS despatched letters to states throughout the US in July, warning that it couldn’t assure that each one votes solid by mail would arrive on time to be counted.
In a letter despatched to Pennsylvania’s secretary of state, the USPS stated mail-in ballots requested one week earlier than the three November election – which the state permits below its election legal guidelines – might not attain their vacation spot on time as a result of the state’s deadlines are too tight for its “delivery standards”.
USPS General Counsel Thomas Marshall stated a “mismatch” between Pennsylvania’s legal guidelines and the supply capabilities of the mail system “creates a risk that ballots requested near the deadline under state law will not be returned by mail in time to be counted under your laws as we understand them”.
The letter was made public on Thursday as Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar requested the state’s supreme court docket to permit ballots to be counted so long as they had been acquired as much as three days after the election. Currently, votes are discarded if they’re acquired after election day.
Pennsylvania is a battleground state, which Mr Trump received by lower than 1% within the 2016 election.
Other battleground states, together with Florida and Michigan, additionally acquired letters, in accordance with US media studies.
The Democratic governor in Pennsylvania’s neighbouring New Jersey introduced on Friday that the state would pre-emptively ship ballots to each registered voter within the state. The technique of sending out ballots is called common mail-in voting, and has been adopted in 9 different US states.
What’s the background?
Speaking to Fox News on Thursday, Mr Trump stated he was blocking extra funding for the financially troubled company as a result of he opposes mail-in voting.
“Now they need that money in order to make the post office work so it can take all of these millions and millions of ballots,” he stated.
“Now, if we don’t make a deal, that means they don’t get the money. That means they can’t have universal mail-in voting, they just can’t have it.”
Amid the funding controversy, the 300,000-member National Association of Letter Carriers union on Friday endorsed Mr Biden for president.
The union warned that the “very survival” of the USPS was at stake and criticised Mr Trump for refusing “to provide the necessary financial relief that would strengthen the agency during this pandemic.”
Mr Trump’s marketing campaign has not but reacted to the endorsement.