WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Postal Service, which has faced criticism for retrenching during a pandemic that will result in huge numbers of people voting by mail, has taken steps to ensure it is ready for the November presidential election, postal officials said Wednesday.
The Postal Service is complying with court orders, an official said at a briefing. Four U.S. judges issued preliminary injunctions in recent weeks barring service reductions before the Nov. 3 vote. Several courts have ordered all election mail to be treated as first-class or priority mail express.
Postal Service officials, who briefed reporters but declined to be identified, said the post office had systems in place to identify ballots so they can be correctly prioritized, to postmark all ballots since some states require postmarks and to track the ballots.
“Ballots are flowing throughout the postal system. We are pleased with what we’re seeing but we’re remaining vigilant,” one official said.
Many more voters than usual are expected to cast ballots by mail instead of in person because of the novel coronavirus pandemic. President Donald Trump has repeatedly said, without evidence, that mail voting would lead to widespread fraud.
The Postal Service has authorized overtime and additional money for transportation during the election season, the second official said.
Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, a Trump donor who took over in June, asked for more resources which the post office began to use on Oct. 1, a second official said.
Lawmakers and others have criticized DeJoy for organizational changes that could delay mail delivery. In August, DeJoy agreed to suspend any changes through Election Day.
(Reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by David Gregorio)