Postal Service backlog sparks worries that ballot delivery could be delayed in November

As Trump ramps up his unfounded attacks on mail balloting, postal employees say the changes implemented by Trump fundraiser-turned-postmaster general Louis DeJoy are the result of a political effort to undermine absentee voting.

Cash, who works in Lancaster, N.Y., said her post office is about two days behind its normal processing time. "The cardinal rule is, 'don't delay the mail,' and we're in a 180-degree switch where we're delaying mail every day," she said, adding that if the system is not fixed before election season, "it's going to be a catastrophe at the post office." [...]

The current backlogs are becoming so dire that if the new procedures remain in place, workers may not be able to locate all the ballots in time for them to be processed, they said.

"If they keep this up until the election, there's no telling how many days-worth of delays there could be. I mean, we'll be delivering political mail days after the election," a postal worker from California said. [...]

Election officials across the country are warning voters to send their general-election ballots as early as possible to avoid potential delays. The Postal Service recommends voters request their ballots at least 15 days before Election Day and mail their completed ballots at least one week before the due date.

"Don't wait for covid numbers to start rising and go like, 'Oh my gosh, I'm not going to the polls, I'm going to vote from home,' " Kerns said. "Just anticipate now that we'll probably see an upsurge as people come closer together, the weather gets colder, so you might as well just plan now to vote by mail."

In a functioning democracy with a functioning postal service, you might assume that what matters for your absentee ballot is the postmark date. NOPE. In most states it must be received by the end of election day.

Also, politicians have a bad habit of declaring defeat before the outstanding ballots are counted. So one good election fraud strategy is to make in-person voting proportionally more difficult for your political enemies... like by closing polling places in counties that won't vote for you. Gee, good thing that's not happening. Oh wait.

As one datapoint in the ongoing shivving of USPS, I ordered a t-shirt recently. It entered a USPS facility near LA on July 7. It made it to the first SF facility on July 9, and to the third SF facility on... July 28.

On the other hand, the big-titty drag furry stamps I ordered arrived in less than a week!

Oh and "save the post office by buying stamps" doesn't work for the same reason that "clean up the BP oil spill by sorting your trash better" doesn't work.

Also, USPS has to treat stamps as "deferred revenue" until they are used, so buying stamps for collection doesn't give them usable income. Which is weird.

Previously, previously, previously, previously, previously.

Tags: , , , , ,

2 Responses:

  1. trepanne says:

    Thanks for the PSA. Presumably America's radical polarization into "COVID-19 is fake news" vs. "Better another Great Depression than a single American die of this disease" camps will result in significant differences in mail-in vs. in-person voting... and conservatives poised to administer the long-awaited coup de grace to the USPS will indeed exploit this difference as lagniappe.

    The 2006 postal reform law was extremely brutal. The postal workers constitute the bulk of "federal employees" in the retirement system, but clearly they aren't made men... they have to pay their own way, while the other guys get to have their debts covered by the US gov't. Check. But of course they aren't given the means to pay their own way; they're restricted to investing retirement funds in Treasuries that pay sweet fuck-all, and they're not allowed to raise 1st class postage rates faster than inflation. Check. They can't raise volumes, with private competitors cutting into their turf. Check. So all they can really do is lay people off and cut costs. Check.

    Of course, all these fake troubles (and other high-expense headaches like "guaranteed service to all citizens") would cease to exist if the USPS were privatized. Check and mate.

    Side note: there's nothing sinister about classifying prepurchased stamps as unearned revenue. It's just that accrual accounting is weird for pretty much the same reason that statistics are weird; our brains are wired poorly for these things.

    If you think about it, you'll probably agree that one shouldn't get to book the profit before putting in the work to earn it.. and if one is preselling "forever" stamps at a discount that's unknown at the time of sale, the excess of that revenue over one's future cost to deliver that item is especially incalculable. So you hold the cash and wait to book the profit until you know what that actually is, because you know your associated cost.

    It's a matching principle thing, and it's not perfect, but it's a major bulwark against the worst stripe of lying thieving fuckwads infesting the capitalist system.

  2. Thomas Lord says:

    The state has collapsed. This is what it looks like.

    Every non-stasi, non-military federal agency has been gutted. Even in California, officials announce that their COVID-19 case number are bullshit, that local agencies lack the basic raw data they'd need to do contact tracing, and that labs and local agencies should improvise.

    The state has collapsed.

  • Previously