Mail delivery still lags ahead of elections, Senate report says

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The U.S. Postal Service continues to experience mail delays despite steps taken to reverse the controversial changes that caused them, a new Senate report revealed on Friday, raising concerns about the USPS ‘ability to deliver election mail to time.


The report Senator Gary Peters (D-Mich.), the ranking member of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, found that the delivery rate of first class mail on time for the week of September 26 to October 2 was 86% , which is an improvement of 1.7% from the previous week and a notable improvement from mid-August, when only 81.5% of first class mail was delivered on time.

The rate has remained below the on-time delivery rate of 91.1% since early July, before new Postmaster General Louis DeJoy imposed changes that resulted in widespread mail delays, and the report notes that delays “increased overall” in September after starting to improve. in August.

Delays continue nationwide, with 59 of the 67 USPS postal districts still experiencing lower on-time delivery rates than before DeJoy’s changes were implemented.

DeJoy’s changes, which included a directive requiring postal trucks to run on time, which resulted in the mail being delayed, were overturned in several court orders and are now in the process of being overturned, although the ‘USPS has rejected some of the terms of the injunctions and is would have still negotiating a final settlement.

Peters’ report noted that while the USPS is clearly working to reverse damaging changes, the fact that service has not yet fully bounced back and continues to fluctuate “represents[s] a threat to critical mail delivery ”that must be“ dealt with immediately ”.

“The extent to which election mail was specifically affected is not clear” from publicly available data, the report notes, although it is classified as first class mail and therefore would be included in the figures. delivery on time.

Crucial quote

“The postal service’s performance has still not returned to its previous on-time delivery standards, and these delays will continue to affect Michiganders and people across the country,” Peters said in a statement. “When it comes to prescription drugs, business mail or postal ballots, even a one day delay can have a serious effect. “

Chief critic

The USPS has consistently reaffirmed its commitment to delivering election mail, with DeJoy describing it as the agency’s number one priority, and has made it clear its intention to comply with court rulings ordering the changes. In response to Peters’ report, USPS spokesman David Partenheimer said NBC News that the agency’s most recent service data “shows an improvement in service for first class mail and marketing and can be attributed to our continued focus on advancing inventory, reducing cycle times and improving efficient use of transport ”. Partenheimer also said the agency will respond to a letter sent by Peters to DeJoy on Friday to request more information on the agency’s continued operations.

Key context

The USPS changes and the resulting mail delays became a major source of outrage as critical mail was delayed across the country. Peters’ office previously found that ongoing delays had caused 85 million letters to be delayed in a single week, affecting everything from paychecks to prescription drugs. Peters’ investigation into the agency is one of many steps Congress Democrats have taken in response to the mail delays, including calling DeJoy to testify, issuing a subpoena for documents and passing a legislation to reverse DeJoy’s changes. The effect of delays on election mail has been of particular concern among Democrats, as the agency warned 46 states over the summer that ballots may not be delivered in time to be counted. and Democratic critics have accused DeJoy, a GOP fundraiser and Trump ally. , intentionally working with the president to undermine postal voting. DeJoy has repeatedly denied these accusations and affirmed his support for postal voting, and in light of the ongoing controversy, the agency has devoted significant additional resources election mail to ensure it is delivered on time.

Further reading

85 million mails delayed in one week under DeJoy, Senate report (Forbes)

Postal service changes overturned by two other judges (Forbes)

Postal service warns of “massive operational disruption” amid nationwide injunctions (Forbes)

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