U.S. Postal Service saw on-time deliveries slip in September, drawing election concerns


Category:  News & Politics

Via:  perrie-halpern  •  2 weeks ago  •  6 comments

By:   Phil McCausland, Julie Tsirkin and Geoff Bennett

U.S. Postal Service saw on-time deliveries slip in September, drawing election concerns
The USPS saw its overall on-time delivery performance slip during the month of September, despite commitments from Postmaster Louis DeJoy to right the ship.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T

The U.S. Postal Service saw its overall on-time delivery performance slip during the month of September, despite commitments from Postmaster General Louis DeJoy that he would right the ship ahead of the presidential election.

With just 25 days until Nov. 3, Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., released a report detailing how the Postal Service's delivery performance dropped again last month. On-time delivery rates remained more than 5 percent under regular performance prior to July 10, when DeJoy made operational changes at the federal agency that critics say led to the delays. Massive shipping delay over the summer led to a national uproar.

"The Postal Service's performance has still not returned to its previous standards for on-time delivery, and these delays will continue to affect Michiganders and folks across the country," said Peters, who serves as ranking member of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, which oversees the Postal Service.

Senate staffers said Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., the chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, was aware of Peters' investigation. His office emphasized Johnson's previous comments made during a Senate committee hearing: DeJoy should be commended for his work, he said at the time, not condemned.

The Postal Service credited the early September delays to a backlog over Labor Day weekend, as well as wildfires in the West and hurricanes and storms along the Gulf Coast. After a second drop in service later in the month, DeJoy pledged additional resources to deal with demand and promised that election mail would be further prioritized.

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy listens to questions from Rep. Katie Porter during the House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing on Aug. 24, 2020.Tom Williams / Pool via Reuters file

First-Class Mail on-time deliveries increased to nearly 86 percent in the last week of September, but that still remained 5.1 percent under the rates seen before the July changes administered by DeJoy.

Postal Service spokesman David Partenheimer said the agency would respond to a letter Peters sent DeJoy on Friday regarding his report, but he emphasized the on-time delivery increases the Postal Service saw in the last week of September.

"The latest service performance report presented to Congress this week shows service improvement for First-Class and Marketing Mail and can be attributed to our continued focus on the advancement of inventory, reduction in cycle times, and effective use of transportation," he said, also reiterating the agency's commitment to prioritizing election mail.

The delay in mail is also not necessarily widespread, but appears to most significantly affect the Midwest and area surrounding Washington, D.C., where the on-time delivery of first-class mail remained less than 80 percent in the last week of September. Detroit saw its delivery rate sit at 72.2 percent, while Chicago's was less than 70 percent.

With average delays between one and three days, Mark Dimondstein, president of American Postal Workers Union, said postal workers "are dedicated to prompt and reliable and efficient services, so we're always disappointed if the results are showing us that some of these policies that were put into place by management are still causing delays."

Dimondstein emphasized that postal workers are doing everything they can to ensure election mail is being delivered on time.

"The employees are absolutely dedicated and are going to move heaven and earth to make sure people's ballots get through the system, even with whatever other problems are going on," he said, but adding that voters may need to be more "vigilant about voting early and voting quickly and leaving a little extra time."

The ongoing mail delays have led to numerous court battles. Three federal judges separately ruled last month that the Postal Service must reverse changes made under DeJoy's leadership, including the removal of mail sorting machines and blue mailboxes, limits on extra delivery trips and a reduction of overtime work.

All three cited the high need for election mail to be delivered on time during the pandemic.

"It is clearly in the public interest to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, to ensure safe alternatives to in-person voting, and to require that the USPS comply with the law," U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan wrote in his opinion last week.

Days later, DeJoy committed additional resources to election mail.

"The U.S. Postal Service's number one priority between now and the November election is the secure, on-time delivery of the nation's Election Mail," he said, reiterating a sentiment he shared with Congress when he testified before them about the delays. "The Postal Service, our unions, and the more than 630,000 postal employees are united in delivering on this sacred duty."

The Postal Service's general counsel Thomas Marshall warned numerous states in August that the high demand for mail-in voting may lead to delays. The letters he sent to states caused concern across the country as tens of millions of voters plan to cast their ballot via the mail during the pandemic.

But worries about the Postal Service are not only about election mail, as delays seen under DeJoy's leadership had a massive ripple effect over the summer that affected the delivery of medications, burdened small businesses and further disconnected rural communities.

"When it comes to prescription drugs, business mail or absentee ballots, even a one day delay can have a serious effect," Peters said. "That's why I'm continuing to demand answers from the Postmaster General and pushing to reverse recent changes that so severely disrupted mail service."


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Buzz of the Orient
1  Buzz of the Orient    2 weeks ago

I'm convinced that Trump and his buddy DeJoy are doing everything in their power to suppress mailed ballots and jeopardize the enfranchment rights of the American voters.  I recall when the senior Bush said "Read my lips", and I've had no difficulty reading Trump's "concerns" about mail fraud, notwithstanding the FBI and other federal agencies assuring that any mail fraud for many years has been absolutely minimal.  The actual fact of the removal of a percentage of drop boxes from the streets and removing the machinery used to speed the processing of the mail proves that, and cannot be denied. 

Greg Jones
1.1  Greg Jones  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @1    2 weeks ago

Any voter suppression in the US is greatly exaggerated and  has been absolutely minimal.

1.1.1  r.t..b...  replied to  Greg Jones @1.1    2 weeks ago

And as an even more verifiable example, voter fraud in the U.S. is even more exaggerated and is quantifiably minimal. 
As an aside, received my mail-in ballot in yesterday’s post, just two days after the announcement that they were being processed. Dropping it off today at an official drop-box. The system is working, regardless of all the vitriol. 

Vic Eldred
1.1.2  Vic Eldred  replied to  r.t..b... @1.1.1    2 weeks ago
As an aside, received my mail-in ballot in yesterday’s post, just two days after the announcement that they were being processed. Dropping it off today at an official drop-box. The system is working, regardless of all the vitriol. 

I also received my mail-in ballot yesterday. Here in MA it is strictly by request. It is not a massive mailing of ballots to everyone.

I noted the following:

I had to sign the envelope the ballot went into. That was then put into the big white envelope.
There is one drop off box in my town - at city Hall. When I got there I noticed two USPS boxes out front. The ballot box was up by the front door. It was chained to a beam.
It was described as blue & grey, but somebody had spray painted the grey with black.
(I wonder how many would remember to sign the envelope and place the completed ballot in the right box?)

Inside, as per usual in MA - on the Presidential vote section - Biden's name was listed first, a green party candidate second, an independent third and the President last.
I'm happy to note for the first time in years that every democrat was challenged by a Republican.
There were two ballot questions - "Right to repair" and the widely confusing "Rank choice voting."

All in all not bad for a state that typically votes blue regardless of candidates.

Buzz of the Orient
1.1.3  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Greg Jones @1.1    2 weeks ago

You mean THIS exaggeration?  What truly amazes me is that a nation that SO VAlUES its voting rights has a federal and State administrations that are doing everything they possibly can to supress voting. - I marvel at the HYPOCRISY of NT Trump-supporting members criticizing a country that does NOT permit voting for its national government.

Trump Campaign Now Suing Three States Over Mail-In Voting Expansion

https://www.forbes.com/sites/alisondurkee/2020/09/02/trump-campaign-montana-lawsuit-now-suing-three-states-over-mail-in-voting-expansion/#5a5d0e861d4 2

The Trump campaign and administration, and Republican governors, have attempted to pass legislation or brought lawsuits suppressing mail-in ballots in many States, incliuding North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Florida, Montana, New Jersey, Nevada, Texas and I don't know how many more, and you can deny all you want but I'm not impressed. 

2  Kavika     2 weeks ago

Surprise, surprise. /s


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