Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway Sends Concerns to Postmaster General
Tuesday, August 18, 2020 - 5:11pm
Louis DeJoy, United States Postmaster General
United States Postal Service
475 L'Enfant Plaza SW., Room 10804
Washington, D.C 20260-3500
Dear Postmaster General DeJoy:
The U.S. Postal Service recently notified the State of Wisconsin that our voters can expect delays in the return of absentee ballots in the upcoming November Presidential Election.
Indeed, due to recent operational changes you have already made in the USPS, this letter warned that USPS cannot guarantee that all ballots cast by mail in a manner consistent will arrive in time to be counted. This forces Wisconsinites to choose between exercising their constitutional right to vote and protecting their health during a pandemic.
Subsequently, you issued a statement that you were putting changes on hold, but many of these changes have already been effectuated in Wisconsin.
So that our election officials and voters have realistic expectations about the capability and reliability of the Postal Service during the General Election, I am requesting that you clarify certain issues.
1. What has changed in USPS operations to warrant the State of Wisconsin receiving a notice that we can expect a delay in the handling of absentee ballots during this election?
2. Information received by our office indicates that you have removed sorting machines from Milwaukee and Madison, based on data showing lower mail rates due to COVID-19. Is this correct? Do you plan on returning this equipment? If not, why not?
3. If the delay you have warned states about, is not due to the operational changes you have made, what is the cause of the delays you have warned about in your letter?
4. Do you expect that the delivery of ballots will be delayed for any reason? If so, how long of a delay in delivery of completed ballots do you anticipate?
5. By what specific date will a completed absentee ballot need to be received by the USPS in order to ensure that it will be delivered to the addressee clerk’s office by November 3rd?
6. If a voter mails a ballot less than a week before Election Day can the voter expect that ballot to be received by Election Day?
7. We understand that in the past, all absentee ballots were treated as first class mail. Will the post office continue this procedure in 2020? If not, why not?
Such drastic changes in operations, if advisable at all, should be taken in an appropriate and reasonable time frame, and certainly not shortly before a Presidential Election. I appreciate your stated commitment to halting these changes, but further answers are needed to reassure voters of your intentions.
We have heard the motto, "every piece, every day" highlighted by postal employees. We understand that this means that every piece of first class mail that is received by a post office on a given day is to be moved forward before postal workers are done for that day. This is the level of service that USPS customers in Wisconsin and across the country have come to expect.
I am asking that you publicly reaffirm your commitment to this practice.
City of Madison
cc: U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin
U.S. Senator Ron Johnson
U.S. Congressman Mark Pocan
- Mary Bottari, 608-266-4611, email@example.com