Over 1 million ballots delivered to voters late during primaries, Postal Service watchdog finds

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More than 1 million ballots were delivered to voters late during the 2020 primaries, according to the Postal Service’s Office of the Inspector General.

In an audit released this week, the internal watchdog at the U.S. Postal Service analyzed primary contests that took place between June 2 and Aug. 13 and found that ballots mailed the week before an election were “high risk” for not making it to election officials on time.

“Resolving these issues will require higher level partnerships and cooperation between the Postal Service and various state officials, including secretaries of state and state election boards,” the inspector general said in a statement. “Timely delivery of Election and Political Mail is necessary to ensure the integrity of the U.S. election process.”

The audit found that ballots were mailed without barcodes for tracking, ballot designs caused improper processing and political mail was sent too close to Election Day for processing by the Postal Service.

The watchdog also found that 1.6 million pieces of mail weren’t delivered on time between April and June for seven facilities across the U.S., blaming lag times on a dearth of oversight.

In 17 states, more than 589,000 ballots were sent to voters after the state’s ballot mailing deadline. And in 11 states, more than 44,000 ballots were sent from election boards to voters on the day of, or the day before, the state’s primary election.

In Pennsylvania, 500 ballots were sent to voters the day after the election.

State laws vary on when they begin counting ballots and how many days after the election they accept mail-in ballots postmarked before the deadline. The audit found that some of those postmark requirements for ballots and voter addresses are out of date.

President Trump and his allies have railed against mail-in voting, alleging without supporting evidence that the practice can lead to widespread voter fraud.

David E. Williams, executive vice president and chief logistics and processing operations at the Postal Service, responded to the audit by urging voters to ask for their ballots 15 days or more before Election Day and mail ballots at least seven days ahead, The Washington Post reported.

“However, we disagree with OIG’s recommendation that the Postal Service should create a new Election Mail product for the 2020 General Election,” Williams wrote in a letter to the inspector general. “The Postal Service also does not agree that it should be responsible for those recommendations or findings that fall under the ultimate control of the election officials, and, therefore, are outside of the Postal Service’s authority.”

Tags Donald Trump mail-in ballots

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