Citing multiple postal workers and union leaders, the Post reported that parts of the country are experiencing at least a two-day delay in receiving mail, including for express mail, as a result of the US Postal Service’s new policies.
The current backlog is worsening to the point where workers fear they won’t be able to locate all voters’ ballots in time for them to be processed, the newspaper reported.
The new procedures for the USPS were laid out in a memo earlier this month and come under the leadership of Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, a longtime Donald Trump supporter and fundraiser, who stepped into his role in June.
In a statement to CNN Thursday, the USPS acknowledged some “temporary service impacts” from the recent changes but disputed concerns that its cost cutting and efficiency measures put in place by DeJoy will interfere with timely delivery of mail-in votes.
“To be clear however, and despite any assertions to the contrary, we are not slowing down Election Mail or any other mail. Instead, we continue to employ a robust and proven process to ensure proper handling of all Election Mail consistent with our standards,” USPS spokesperson David Partenheimer said.
The new policies include hours being cut back within the US Postal Service, according to the memo obtained by CNN that shows talking points given to USPS managers across the country on July 10.
According to the memo, overtime, including late trips and extra trips by USPS workers, is no longer authorized or accepted. This is explained as a cost cutting measure that could save the financially struggling USPS around $200 million.
“One aspect of these changes that may be difficult for employees is that, temporarily — we may see mail left behind or mail on the workroom floor or docks … which is not typical,” reads the memo.
The memo states any mail left behind will be reported with the “root causes” of the delays addressed the next day, with the intention of the volume of delayed mail shrinking over time, but the reality of that remains unclear as the changes are new.
Partenheimer said in the statement that any “such impacts will be monitored and temporary as the root causes of any issues will be addressed as necessary and corrected as appropriate.”
He went on to say that DeJoy is not beholden to the influence of Trump and that the “notion that the Postmaster General makes decisions concerning the Postal Service at the direction of the President is wholly misplaced and off-base.”
“While the USPS is able to fund its operating expenses without additional borrowing at this time, we are pleased to have reached an agreement on the material terms and conditions of a loan, should the need arise,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.
“If the funding doesn’t come through, everything we do, including vote by mail will be much harder,” Dimondstein told CNN.
CNN’s Mary Kay Mallonee, Ellie Kaufman and Gregory Wallace contributed to this report.