Postmaster general: election mail will be handled ‘securely and on time’

U.S.

FILE – In this Aug. 5, 2020, file photo Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, left, is escorted to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office on Capitol Hill in Washington. The U.S. Postal Service has sent letters to 46 states and the District of Columbia, warning it cannot guarantee all ballots cast by mail for the November election will arrive in time to be counted, The Washington Post reported Friday, Aug. 14. DeJoy, a former supply-chain CEO and a major donor to President Donald Trump and other Republicans, has pushed cost-cutting measures to eliminate overtime pay and hold mail until the next day if postal distribution centers are running late. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

WASHINGTON (NewsNation) — Postmaster General Louis DeJoy told lawmakers on Friday that the Postal Service has not changed the way it handles election mail as he sought to assure the public that ballots would be delivered “securely and on time” for the November election.

In his first appearance before Congress, DeJoy testified about disruptions in mail delivery during a virtual hearing before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Friday.

DeJoy said he was considering “dramatic changes” to shore up Postal Service finances after the Nov. 3 election. DeJoy suspended existing cost-cutting measures on Tuesday after they led to widespread service delays.

Those delays have raised concerns that millions of mail-in ballots could go uncounted in November as many voters seek to avoid polling places during the coronavirus pandemic. Earlier this month, the Postal Service sent out letters warning many states that it can’t guarantee all ballots cast by mail for the November election will arrive in time to be counted.

DeJoy told senators he doesn’t plan to restore blue mailboxes and sorting equipment that have been removed in recent weeks. He said they were routine responses to changes in mail volume, which has dropped in the pandemic, and added that he hadn’t ordered those changes.

DeJoy said that election mail would continue to be prioritized for delivery as in years past.

DeJoy promised the Postal Service “is fully capable and committed to delivering the nation’s election mail securely and on time.” He said that was his “No. 1 priority between now and Election Day.”

But he told senators he could not yet provide a detailed plan about how he will ensure on-time election mail delivery.

Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan, of New Hampshire, asked DeJoy for a plan by Sunday.

“I don’t think we’ll have a complete plan by Sunday night,” DeJoy replied, acknowledging that it was just being formed.

DeJoy, who has donated millions of dollars to Trump and other Republicans, also said he has not spoken with the Trump campaign or White House Staff Mark Meadows about postal service operations. DeJoy said postal workers will deliver 95% of election mail within three days, as they did in the 2018 congressional elections.

He added that he would personally vote by mail.

“The American people should feel comfortable that the Postal Service will deliver on this election,” DeJoy said.

DeJoy is due to testify before the Democratic-led House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Monday.

The House is set to vote on a bill on Saturday that would provide $25 billion in funding for the Postal Service and require the reversal of operational changes.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

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