USPS Warns of PA Ballot Delay; Mailboxes Removed in OR
Pennsylvania has now gone to court to seek an order allowing votes postmarked by Nov. 3 to be counted up to three days after the election. Mailboxes are also being removed in Portland and Eugene, OR.
(A view of US postal service mail boxes at a post office in Encinitas, California. Photo by Mike Blake/File Photo, via Reuters.)
In one of my latest articles in my series on Trump’s ongoing efforts to destroy the US Postal Service in order to diminish mail-in votes which heavily favor Biden, I explained that if the USPS was openly admitting now that there will be delays in the mail then states must extend their deadlines for processing votes that were postmarked on Election Day, but receved much later. Pennsylvania has done just that, as election officials have now asked the state Supreme Court to extend the deadlines to avoid disenfranchising voters.
The U.S. Postal Service has formally warned every Secretary of State that some mail-in ballots might not be delivered on time because the state’s deadlines are likely too tight for its “delivery standards.” Thomas J. Marshall, General Counsel and Executive Vice President of the US Postal Service, sent a letter advising of the changes on July 29, to Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar, whose department oversees elections.
In the letter, Marshall warns that Pennsylvania's mail-in ballot deadlines are “incongruous” with delivery standards for the US Postal Service. Marshall went on to explain that voters needed to mail in their ballots a week before the deadline for them to be received and counted. Marshall further explained the risk saying, “…ballots requested near the deadline under state law will not be returned by mail in time to be counted under your laws as we understand them.”
(Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf in March of this year as he extended his shutdown order to the entire state due to the coronavirus pandemic. Via Getty Images.)
This goes against current state law which allows for an election ballot to be mailed out to a requesting voter up to a week before the election. Pennsylvania is expected to be a battleground state for the presidency and was decided by less than 1% of the vote in 2016, which means that the result will most definitely hinge upon votes cast by mail.
That letter was made public late Thursday when the Department of State, led by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, filed a request with the state Supreme Court to extend deadlines for mail-in ballots. The state is asking for a court order that mailed-in ballots be counted as long as they are received up to three days after the Nov. 3 election date.
In the filing, lawyers for the state made the following argument: “To state it simply: voters who apply for mail-in ballots in the last week of the application period and return their complete ballot by mail will, through no fault of their own, likely be disenfranchised.” The state’s filing warns of “a significant change” to the status of voting by mail in the general election that was not previously understood to be at risk. The state is arguing that the Postal Service had not previously indicated the existence of “the likelihood of widespread, continuing, multiple-day mail-delivery delays.”
(Stacks of boxes holding cards and letters are seen at the U.S. Post Office sort center December 15, 2008 in San Francisco, California, previously one of the busiest days of the year. The U.S. Postal Service historically processes over one billion cards, letters and packages on its busiest days, but now claims delays are justified. Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.)
Now the state argues that the recent letter advising the Elections Department of significant delays is “presenting an overwhelming, statewide risk of disenfranchisement for significant numbers of voters utilizing mail-in ballots.” Pennsylvania has therefore requested that their state Supreme Court formally order that ballots postmarked by 8 p.m. on Nov. 3, 2020, be counted if they are valid and received during the three days following the election.
This is a law that other states have already imposed. Nevada recently passed a law allowing for residents to not only participate in vote-by-mail, but also extending the deadline for when postmarked Election Day mail-in ballots can be counted by up to one week after November 3. The Trump Administration is challenging this law in the courts as we speak and Trump has referred to the new rule as “a coup” intended to harm his chances at re-election.
Soon after the Nevada law was passed, Trump pundits scattered across main stream media to shower the public with falsehoods and mis-information. Mercedes Schlapp went on CNN (see video below) and accused Nevada Democrats of attempting to illegally count votes cast after the election, after waiting to see what the outcome had been, in an attempt to alter who had become president. Schalpp purposely neglected to mention the fact that the only ballots that can be counted legally must have a postmark of Nov. 3, and was therefore misleading the public.
You can expect these continued, false attacks from the Trump Administration and Trump’s Campaign surrogates, as they continue to lie about what these latest elections laws really mean. You can also expect the number of states seeking a court order to extend their voting tally deadlines for Nov. 3 postmarked ballots to increase — the postal service has expressed that mail delivery has been slowed nationwide.
Battleground states, like Pennsylvania, seem most vulnerable at this stage, but given Trump’s attacks on USPS through his new Postmaster General, and how that might hinder the election result, who really knows where the battleground states are anymore.
Mailboxes Are Being Removed in Portland and Eugene
(A USPS employee unloads a mailbox in Washington, DC. Photo via Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc, via Getty Images.)
There are also reports in Oregon of mailboxes being picked up and removed, which ultimately gives citizens less access to mailing in their ballots. The USPS has confirmed that four mailboxes were removed in Portland this week, but a Postal Service spokesperson is citing “declining mail volume” as the justification and says this is just the removal of “duplicate” sites from areas that have multiple collection boxes.
I am concerned by these reports and watching it closely, especially considering that Trump used Portland as his test-ground for installing his federal militia to violate the Civil Rights of local protestors. I will be diligent about reporting anything credible as it comes in, so stay tuned.
For more on this issue, you can read my previous articles explaining Trump’s USPS sabotage here:
Amee Vanderpool writes the SHERO Newsletter and is an attorney, published author, contributor to newspapers and magazines and analyst for BBC radio. She can be reached at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter @girlsreallyrule.
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