Washington (NewsNation) — The U.S. Postal Service has sent out 46 letters warning it can’t guarantee all ballots cast by mail for the November election will arrive in time to be counted, according to USPS spokesperson.
In the letters sent to state election officials, the agency explains “certain deadlines for requesting and casting mail-in ballots are incongruous with the Postal Service’s delivery standards… this mismatch creates a risk that ballots requested near the deadline under state law will not be returned by mail in time to be counted.”
This could leave millions of U.S. voters disenfranchised.
The warning letters included the following states to watch in the upcoming general election: Michigan, Virginia, Iowa, Ohio and Pennsylvania.
In a statement obtained by NewsNation, USPS spokesperson Martha Johnson says the impact of the coronavirus pandemic has played a big role in the increasing amount of mail in ballots.
“As states adjusted their 2020 primary elections due to COVID-19 the volume of Election Mail, including ballots, increased dramatically. Some states have reported Election Mail volumes that are 10 times higher than any previous year,” said Johnson. “The Postal Service is well prepared and has ample capacity to deliver America’s election mail. However, the increases in volume and the effect of when volumes were mailed in the primary elections presented a need to ensure the Postal Service’s recommendations were reemphasized to elections officials.”
The agency says the letters are part of “educational efforts” that support other outreach mailings sent in March and May, in addition to meetings and phone calls with election officials.
“Through these efforts, the Postal Service is asking election officials and voters to realistically consider how the mail works, and to be mindful of our delivery standards, in order to provide voters ample time to cast their votes through the mail,” said Johnson. “The letters did not purport to offer a definitive legal interpretation of any state’s election laws (as in effect on July 27, 2020), and did not offer advice on whether state law should be altered.”