8NEWS: Virginia lawmakers call on USPS to address mail delivery issues ahead of 2024 election

8NEWS, MARYSA TUTTLE

Virginia lawmakers are calling on the United States Postal Service (USPS) to address mail delivery issues ahead of the 2024 election.

According to the office of Congresswoman Jennifer McClellan, who represents the fourth district of Virginia, McClellan and her colleagues are calling on the USPS to ensure the efficient and secure delivery of election mail.

McClellan, as well as Senators Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) and Representatives Gerry Connolly (D-VA-11), Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (D-VA-03) and Abigail Spanberger (D-VA-07), wrote a letter to the USPS Postmaster General Louis DeJoy and the USPS Virginia District Manager Gerald Roane.

According to the office, the letter follows reports that local election officials are advising voters against using USPS to mail in their ballots.

In the letter, the lawmakers wrote the following statement:

“It is paramount that voters have confidence in USPS to safeguard one of the country’s most fundamental democratic principles. Therefore, we have consistently urged USPS to be more forthcoming and transparent about the steps it is taking to guarantee the timely delivery of mail and packages. Just as we have in the past, we again implore USPS to provide clear guidance and updates to voters regarding the agency’s plan to handle election mail, thereby assuring voters that they can rely on USPS to deliver their ballots securely and punctually.” VIRGINIA LAWMAKERS’ APRIL 17 LETTER TO POSTMASTER GENERAL DEJOY AND ROANE

The letter comes after continued reports of missing, delayed and stolen mail throughout Central Virginia.

All of these concerns had previously been answered with relative silence and inaction from the USPS, in which the organization had declined multiple calls for action and refused appearances at various county and city town hall meetings.

However, in an oversight hearing held on Tuesday, April 16, lawmakers finally had a chance to question top leaders in the Postal Service and find out what’s been causing these mail issues — not just in Richmond, but elsewhere as well.

In that hearing, Postmaster DeJoy said USPS was already facing many challenges before he assumed his position in 2020. He went on to explain the issues that emerged in a plan to consolidate operations at several facilities across Virginia in 2023.

In the April 17 letter to the USPS, the lawmakers posed the following questions to be answered by DeJoy and Roane:

  1. What specific measures is USPS implementing to ensure the timely and secure delivery of election mail processed at the Sandston Processing and Distribution Center?
  2. Will USPS be allocating additional resources, such as personnel and equipment, to prioritize the handling of election mail until after the November elections?
  3. What steps is USPS taking to coordinate with local authorities and election officials to ensure the security and integrity of the election mail process?
  4. Does USPS have a strategy in place to inform voters about its handling of election mail, assuring them that their absentee ballots will be returned to local registrars by the Virginia Department of Elections deadline of noon on the third day following the election?
  5. Can USPS provide an update on the Elections and Government Mail Services Division’s plans to support USPS delivery operations in the upcoming general election, specifically USPS operations in Virginia?
  6. Can USPS share any steps it is taking or will be taking before November to ensure the timely return of absentee ballots from military, diplomatic, and other overseas voters?

The letter went on to say, “given there are several additional elections upcoming in 2024, including Virginia’s June primaries, there is a need for a comprehensive and timely response.”

To read the full letter addressed to the USPS, go here.

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