The USPS is struggling to deliver first-class mail — including ballots — on time
Given the ongoing pandemic, many Americans are relying on the United States Postal Service to vote. Last month, a federal judge ordered the USPS to treat all election mail as first-class mail in an effort to ensure no ballots went uncounted. But recently, the USPS reported its on-time delivery of first-class mail has dropped significantly.
USPS documents submitted to a federal court show that for the week of Sept. 19, on-time delivery performance for first-class mail fell to about 84%, CNN reported. While over 80% of first-class mail being on time might look good, that amounts to a decline of 4.5% over two weeks.
It's unclear what exactly is causing the delays now. CNN reported that the USPS placed some of the blame on issues at the Great Lakes and Chicago Surface Transfer Center. In a statement, USPS said, "To address this issue, support teams have been on site and are working with contracting teams to increase staffing and reduce cycling times."
But the latest reports of delays follow a trend that began in the summer trend. In July, the USPS told 46 states and Washington, D.C., that it couldn't ensure all ballots sent by mail would arrive in time to be counted. And Axios reported that an August USPS briefing showed a "sharp decline" in on-time delivery for priority mail beginning July 4. Per the outlet, on-time priority mail deliveries fell from around 90% in early July to under 80% in August.
Throughout the saga of USPS delays, top GOP donor Louis DeJoy's name has become infamous thanks to his appointment as postmaster general this summer, despite the fact that he had no prior experience with the Postal Service. While he did implement new guidelines that delayed services nationwide, The Washington Post reported that the July warning regarding election mail was planned prior to DeJoy's appointment. Similarly, regarding the removal of over 700 mail sorting machines in an election year, USPS official Jason DeChambeau wrote that the decision predated DeJoy.
DeJoy still bears some responsibility, whether or not a few decisions predate him. There is one other common denominator: President Trump, who has made his attacks on the USPS in an attempts to sabotage the elections clear.