U.S. Postal Service changes as elections get closer

Postal service cuts voting

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Millions of Americans are expected to vote by mail in the November 3, 2020 election- millions more than any other election because of the coronavirus pandemic.

This comes as the U.S. Postal Service is making changes in its practices which many believe will inhibit processing those ballots quickly.

According to postal unions and watchers, overtime has been eliminated. Overtime, they say, is essential when there’s a big bump in the mail, like elections and the holidays.

“My concern is the ballots won’t get out on time,” said Connie Sadler-Nelson, who headed the Postal Union in Tucson for 25 years.

But not just get out on time. Getting back in time to be postmarked will also likely be an issue.

“They have to get out on time in order to get them on time, to get them back in time, to get them counted on time,” she said. “It’s just a big circle that if any link in broken in that circle, it’s a problem.”

What gives concern as well is there won’t be enough people to handle the increased load this election cycle and so far there’s no evidence the current leadership is in a hurry to hire them.

“We need more people,” Sadler-Nelson said. “So if they’re going to hire for the election to make sure the whole process is started, they should probably start by now.”

Workers for the holidays are hired months in advance.

It appears, to have a successful election, much of the responsibility will fall on the voter.

“You know voting is a right and rights should be easy to exercise,” said Alison Jones, chair of the Democratic Party in Pima County. “You should not have to fight for your right every time around.”

The Democratic Party will spend a great deal of time and effort making sure voters vote by mail and then keep track of their ballots to make sure they have been processed and counted.

All mail in ballots can be tracked on the Pima County Recorder’s website and the parties use it to make sure people have voted.

“We call that ballot chasing,” Jones said. “We do get information from the recorder’s office on which ballots have come in.”

Those which haven’t can expect an phone call, an email or a text giving them a gentle nudge.

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