A top USPS official warned that suppliers may not be able to print enough mail-in ballots in time for the electionSeptember 4, 2020
- A top USPS official worried that suppliers will not be able to print enough mail-in ballots for the election, in a recording leaked to The Daily Beast.
- "Some of these printers… just don't have the capacity," the official said, according to the publication.
- The USPS is under scrutiny after changes made by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy dramatically slowed mail delivery.
- DeJoy has said he is determined to distribute mail-in ballots on time, and set up an election task force at the agency.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
A top US Postal Service official warned colleagues that printers may not be able to produce enough mail-in ballots to get the forms to US voters in time for the election, The Daily Beast reported Thursday.
The warning was made by an official at the inaugural meeting of the agency's election integrity task force, reported the publication, which obtained a recording of the session.
"With the dramatic increase of ballots compared to previous elections, in some cases a tenfold increase in the number of ballots in some states, there are some issues in the supply chain," the official said. They were not named by the Beast.
The problem the speaker highlighted was with the specially-approved printers who make the election ballots and forward them to individual states. From there they are passed on to voters.
"Some of these printers… just don't have the capacity they were used to in prior elections," the official said.
Postmaster General Louis DeJoy was at the meeting, the Beast said.
In response to the report, USPS spokesman Dave A Partenheimer told Business Insider that supply chain issues were largely the responsibility of election officials.
He said: "Any supply chain issues related to the production of ballots and other Election Mail materials is an issue that is ultimately the responsibility of the election officials to address, although the Postal Service does work to assist and educate ballot producers in their mail piece design."
"The Postal Service will continue with these efforts, but it is unrelated to the Postal Service's complete readiness to deliver any Election Mail that is presented to us, and we will do so in a timely and secure manner consistent with our longstanding processes and procedures that we have utilized for years."
The issue follows broader concerns that the voting infrastructure in the US will struggle to cope with this year's election, in the shadow of the coronavirus pandemic.
A series of changes ushered in at the USPS by DeJoy slowed mail delivery times, prompting a political firestorm.
At the same time, President Donald Trump has repeatedly cast doubt on the integrity of mail-in ballots. Despite assurances from US election officials and experts, Trump has claimed the process is vulnerable to widespread fraud
Polls have suggested a stark partisan split in mail-in voting, with Democrats far more likely to use the system. Republicans largely say they will vote in person.
Democrats have accused the president of seeking to undermine the election by delegitimizing mail-in votes.
In testimony to lawmakers in August, DeJoy said changes at the USPS were not designed to affect the election, and that the agency was committed to successfully handling the increase in mail-in votes.
NPR reported days later that DeJoy had met with election officials, and told them that he had set up a task force to assess the capacity of every mail sorting center to process mail-in ballots and other election mail.
At the inaugural meeting, reported by the Daily Beast, another official expressed concerns that "despite the heroic efforts I know you guys will pursue to get that ballot in the hands of voters, the reality is, that's going to be a difficult situation for that voter to have their vote counted."
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