The United States Postal Service (USPS) is establishing the “Election and Government Mail Services” to handle voting-by-mail “issues” as part of an effort to ensure swift and secure ballot delivery for the 2022 midterm election, according to officials.
The idea behind the formation of the Election and Government Mail Services is to have a perpetual division devoted to dealing with election matters, rather than dealing with issues one at a time as in the past, according to the Associated Press (AP).
“We are fully committed to the secure and timely delivery of the nation’s election mail,” Adrienne Marshall, executive director of the division, said, according to AP News.
She said that the services would oversee “election mail strike teams” in each local and district community to deal with any issues that may arise.
One such issue arose in May after a Los Angeles woman reported the discovery of more than 100 undelivered mail-in ballots, according to The Dallas Express.
Christina Repaci was walking her dog in East Hollywood one day in May when she allegedly came across a postal service bin full of unopened envelopes. She realized that the majority of the envelopes were mail-in ballots and decided to take them home with her.
“If it happens to someone else and they don’t know what to do, they’ll just put them in a dumpster or throw them in the trash,” she said. “This is a country of freedom, and our votes should matter, and something like this should never happen.”
After several phone calls to various authorities, Repaci eventually connected with the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder’s Office. A representative of the office was sent out to collect the 104 unopened mail ballots for the California primary elections.
Authorities began cooperating with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the federal law enforcement division of the postal service, to investigate how the ballots were misplaced.
In the future, the Election and Government Mail Services department will be the first point of contact if issues like this arise.
Backlogs and questions plagued the Postal Service during the 2020 presidential election, in which more than 135 million ballots were delivered to and from voters.
However, despite the pandemic, the Postal Service reported that in the 2020 election, it delivered 97.9% of ballots from voters to election officials within three days, and 99.89% of votes were delivered within seven days.
This year, postal workers are already delivering ballots. According to officials, nearly 40 million votes have been mailed to and from voters during primary elections.
Last week, the USPS sent guidance letters to election officials in every state and territory.