UPS, FedEx shut down calls to handle mail-in ballots, warn of 'significant' problems: report

As concern mounts that the United States Postal Service (USPS) will not be able to handle an influx of mail-in ballots during the coronavirus pandemic, many on social media have called for delivery services FedEx and UPS to step up, which the companies have dismissed.

In an exclusive interview with Reuters, UPS and FedEx said they legally can't do the work and warned there would likely be "significant" delays.

"State ballots must be postmarked to be considered valid and only the USPS has lawful postmarking status. Therefore UPS, FedEx and other private parties cannot technically be involved in shipping ballots," UPS told Reuters in a statement.

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Meanwhile, FedEx says it does accept individual ballots, but encouraged customers using FedEx to "closely review their state's guidelines on absentee voting and deadlines for ballots or related election documents."

According to Reuters, various laws prevent private delivery companies from handling mail-in and absentee ballots, and in some states it would be considered ballot harvesting.

On top of legal issues, the USPS is equipped to deliver to every mailbox in the U.S. daily, while private delivery companies only deliver when someone has a package or a pickup, and don't have blanket coverage of more hard-to-reach places, such as rural communities. 

Many delivery companies are also already struggling with a surge of deliveries brought on by people staying at home during the pandemic and increasingly relying on online shopping.

The question of private companies handling mail-in ballots come as the USPS faces a funding crisis and delayed delivery tied to the pandemic and policy changes under President TrumpDonald John TrumpFederal prosecutor speaks out, says Barr 'has brought shame' on Justice Dept. Former Pence aide: White House staffers discussed Trump refusing to leave office Progressive group buys domain name of Trump's No. 1 Supreme Court pick MORE. It has become a major concern as people worry the health risks posed by voting in person during the pandemic have led many to consider mail-in-voting instead, and several states have taken actions to increase access to the voting method for their residents' safety.

But Trump has cast doubt on the security of vote-by-mail, and has alleged without evidence that it will lead to election fraud. Earlier this week he also said he opposed funding the USPS in a coronavirus relief package because the funds would help mail-in-voting efforts.

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Trump reversed on Friday, saying he would support funding the USPS so long as Democrats offer up concessions. 

The news comes as the USPS warned on Friday that 46 states are at risk of having their residents' mail-in ballots not be counted in the November election.