Post office takes victory lap, says vote-by-mail election went smoothly

The U.S. Postal Service released an after-action report Tuesday detailing its successes in delivering mail ballots during the 2020 election and the Georgia Senate runoffs, saying the average time to get ballots to voters was about two days, and even faster in getting filled-out ballots back to election officials.

All told, at least 135 million ballots were identified and delivered to or from voters for the Nov. 3 election alone, the post office said.

That was just a fraction of the more than four billion pieces of political mail, such as voter guides and campaign ads, sent in 2020 — up 76% over 2016 — the report said.

“Postal employees rose to the occasion, served the American people with pride and distinction, and upheld the Postal Service’s promise to deliver the nation’s election mail securely and on time, consistent with the organization’s non-partisan public service mission,” the service said.

In the months leading up to the election critics of the Trump administration said they feared the post office was attempting to disrupt mail-in voting even as states rushed to embrace the option during the pandemic.

The new report flatly rejects those claims and points to the final delivery times as proof.

That includes 99.89% of ballots the post office identified during election season that were delivered within seven days, and “the overwhelming majority of ballots were delivered in far less time than that,” the post office said in the new report.

On average, that worked out to 2.1 days to go from election officials to voters’ hands, and 1.6 days on average to be delivered back from voters to election officials.

During the summer and fall, as the focus on mail-in voting grew — and President Trump complained of openings for fraud — the postal service was blasted for pondering changes in collections and delivery.

Tuesday’s report says those changes were completely unrelated to the election, but they got snared in “an increasingly heated partisan tug-of-war.”

New Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s past history of donating to Republicans was also held up as evidence the service was trying to skew the election.

“Routine business decisions — such as the removal or relocation of sorting machines and collection boxes — were perceived as part of an effort to make voting by mail more difficult or less efficient, ignoring the fact that these decisions were made pursuant to processes that were in place long before Mr. DeJoy’s arrival,” the service said.

There were summer mail delays, but those were due to the pandemic and other factors, the service said.

Mr. DeJoy also canceled plans to change some operations and surged resources aimed at delivering election mail beginning Oct. 1 in order to remove any lingering doubts, the service said.

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