Postal Service warns most states late mail-in ballots may not arrive in time to be counted

Record vote-by-mail turnout expected this year; agency says state regulations not compatible with mail delivery.

Published: August 14, 2020 3:56pm

Updated: August 14, 2020 4:26pm

The Postal Service warned nearly every U.S. state late last month that countless voters may face effective disenfranchisement due to the agency's expected difficulties with handling a record number of mail-in ballots while attempting to meet state election deadlines.

The postal service said in letters to the states that those deadlines regarding ballot submission and recounts were "incongruous" with the present logistics of mail delivery. Many voters who mail their ballots close to Election Day may not get their votes counted, the agency said. 

Though the postal service said state-level regulations may significantly disrupt the timely transmission of mail-in ballots, the service argued that it is otherwise capable of handling the expected huge influx of mail as Election Day nears. 

The agency "is well prepared and has ample capacity to deliver America’s election mail," USPS spokeswoman Martha Johnson told the Washington Post. 

Rather, the issue is that "the Postal Service cannot adjust its delivery standards to accommodate the requirements of state election law," the agency told various state leaders. 

Numerous advocacy groups and citizens, meanwhile, have in recent months launched lawsuits to extend the deadline by which mail-in ballots can be counted, arguing in favor of additional days and sometimes weeks by which ballots can be received.

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