The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has sent letters to states across the country, notifying them of possible delays in the delivery of mail-in ballots, which would cause those votes not to be counted on the Nov. 3 Election Day.
The letter was sent late last month to as many as 46 states and Washington, D.C., according to a count by The Washington Post, warning them that “certain deadlines for requesting and casting mail-in ballots are incongruous with the Postal Service’s delivery standards.”
“This mismatch creates a risk that 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,” the letter read.
As the coronavirus pandemic has drastically disrupted this year’s election process, a surging number of voters are expected to vote by mail-in ballots, a method President Donald Trump has adamantly opposed, for he believes it raises the possibility of voting fraud.
The warnings came at a time when the USPS found itself in a dire financial situation, and a sweeping organizational overhaul by Trump-appointed Postmaster General Louis DeJoy for deliberately increasing mail wait times and sabotaging mail-in voting.
Trump on Thursday threatened to block additional funding for the USPS backed by the Democrats, citing his opposition to mail-in ballots.
“They want 3.5 billion for something that will turn out to be fraudulent. That’s election money, basically,” Trump said in an interview with Fox News on Thursday morning, referring to the Democrats’ effort to expand mail-in ballots during the pandemic.
“Now, if we don’t make a deal, that means they don’t get the money. That means they can’t have universal mail-in voting, they just can’t have it,” he said.
In the 3-trillion-dollar coronavirus relief bill passed in the House in May, 25 billion dollars were appropriated for the USPS. The bill also included 3.6 billion dollars in election funding to address the sudden shift to mail-in voting and early in-person voting due to the pandemic.
U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in her weekly press conference on Thursday that the funding for the USPS shouldn’t be a red line in the negotiation for a long-awaited new coronavirus relief package because “the American people want the Postal Service protected and preserved.”
Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s campaign also reacted to Trump’s comments with fury, as campaign spokesman Andrew Bates said the president “is sabotaging a basic service that hundreds of millions of people rely upon…because he wants to deprive Americans of their fundamental right to vote safely.”
Trump on Thursday afternoon softened his rhetoric, saying during a White House press briefing that while he still opposed the 3.5 billion dollars for mail-in ballots, he would approve funding for the USPS through “a separate thing.