Postal Service Warns Virginia Votes Could Go Uncounted Due to Mailing Delays

Erica Koesler, left, and David Haerle, both of Los Angeles, demonstrate outside a USPS post office, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2020, in the Los Feliz section of Los Angeles. The USPS has warned states coast to coast that it cannot guarantee all ballots cast by mail for the November election will arrive in time to be counted, even if mailed by state deadlines, raising the possibility that millions of voters could be disenfranchised.(AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

By Arianna Coghill

August 17, 2020

Virginia Attorney General considering legal action to stop changes that are, perhaps deliberately, slowing down mail delivery ahead of the election.

The U.S. Postal Service has warned that millions of votes in 46 states, including Virginia, could potentially not be mailed in time to be counted for the November general election.

READ MORE: Everything You Need to Know About Voting By Mail in Virginia

Warning letters sent to the states said that tens of millions of voters could potentially be disenfranchised, even if they follow election rules. 

“The Postal Service is well prepared and has ample capacity to deliver America’s election mail,” the USPS said in a statement. “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.”

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the US Postal Service is preparing for a massive influx of mail-in votes from people looking for a safer alternative to casting their ballot in person. Some states have reported election mail numbers that are 10 times higher than years prior.  

Despite the coming influx of election-related mail , the Trump administration’s Postmaster General implemented measures to eliminate overtime pay and hold over mail if distribution centers are running late.

“This is a deeply troubling development in what is becoming a clear pattern of attempted voter suppression by the Trump administration,” Gov. Ralph Northam said to WRIC. “I am committed to making sure all Virginians have access to the ballot box, and will continue to work with state and federal lawmakers to ensure safe, secure and accessible elections this fall.”

Attorney General Mark Herring’s team has started looking at potential legal options to prevent the administration from making additional operational changes to the mailing system. 

“My colleagues and I are working as we speak to determine what Trump and DeJoy are doing, whether they have already violated or are likely to violate any laws, and what tools we have at our disposal to put a stop to President Trump’s ongoing attack on our postal service and our democracy,” Herring said in a statement to CBS.

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