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Workers’ ‘Heroic’ Efforts Won’t Save the Vote

Workers’ ‘Heroic’ Efforts Won’t Save the Vote

The embattled leadership of the U.S. Postal Service warned its elections-integrity task force on Thursday about “issues in the supply chain,” particularly from printers, that risk voters not getting ballots and election mail, according to a recording of the inaugural meeting of the task force acquired by The Daily Beast. 

“With the dramatic increase of ballots compared to previous elections, in some cases a tenfold increase in the number of ballots in some states, there are some issues in the supply chain,” a senior USPS official informed the group, which consisted of Postmaster General Louis DeJoy and other senior USPS officials. 

The official was referring to the process by which approved manufacturers produce ballots, and other vital election mail, to state election officials to distribute to voters. “Some of these printers… just don’t have the capacity they were used to in prior elections,” the official said.

Speaking about deadlines for requesting mail-in ballots that Postal officials worry fall too close to Election Day to be counted, another official was blunt with the group: “Despite the heroic efforts I know you guys will pursue to get that ballot in the hands of voters, the reality is, that’s going to be a difficult situation for that voter to have their vote counted.”

At least one USPS official who attended the task force meeting told The Daily Beast they considered USPS leadership’s warnings of supply-chain disruption ahead of the balloting to be a cover for leadership’s failures.

Issues with the ballot and election mail supply chain ultimately fall to state election officials, said David Partenheimer, a spokesperson for the Postal Service, though he added the agency “does work to assist and educate ballot producers in their mail piece design.”

“The Postal Service will continue with these efforts, but it is unrelated to the Postal Service’s complete readiness to deliver any Election Mail that is presented to us, and we will do so in a timely and secure manner consistent with our longstanding processes and procedures that we have utilized for years,” said Partenheimer. 

During the meeting, senior USPS officials, including DeJoy, largely blamed the states for complicating vote-by-mail efforts, complaining on Thursday about what they described as states’ lack of understanding of the mail delivery process. They acknowledged that their recent and highly controversial moves – such as warning election officials in 46 states and the District of Columbia that their deadlines for voters to request ballots by mail jeopardized votes being counted – had opened the agency up to claims of politicization.  

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