Ahead of anticipated demand for mail-in ballots during the upcoming midterm election season, the U.S. Postal Service has announced the formation of a new branch designed to ensure safe delivery.
According to the executive director of the so-called Election and Government Mail Services division, “election mail strike teams” will be tasked with addressing the needs in communities nationwide.
Adrienne Marshall explained that the department will be a permanent addition to the USPS, adding: “We are fully committed to the secure and timely delivery of the nation’s election mail.”
The impetus for this division came in the aftermath of the 2020 election as critics of the increased use of mail-in ballots cast doubt on the accuracy of the final tally of federal, state, and local elections.
Amid a global pandemic, millions of voters chose to mail in their ballots for the first time, leading to confusion and uncertainty about the process. In total, more than 135 million ballots were sent through the mail, which resulted in widespread delays.
Despite the increased demand on the postal service, however, reports indicate that just under 98% of all mail-in ballots arrived at their destination within three days. Almost all of the ballots had been marked as delivered within a week, according to the USPS.
Former President Donald Trump and a number of other prominent Republicans expressed suspicions about fraud or incompetence at the time, resulting in serious concerns about whether mail-in ballots could be a reliable way to determine the winner in close races.
During a debate just weeks ahead of the 2020 election, Trump suggested that his political enemies would exploit the increased use of mail-in ballots to steal the election.
“There is fraud,” he said. “They found them in creeks. They found some with the name Trump just the other day in a wastepaper basket.”
He went on to predict that “this is going to be a fraud like you have never seen” and “we might not know for months” who won the presidential election.
Although the USPS clearly hopes to assuage some of those concerns with its new division, plenty of skeptics on the right expect the upcoming election to be similarly unreliable.
Do NOT put your ballot in the mail, trust me, I have a friend in the USPS. Ballots are not safe, they are often thrown in the trash and are constantly mis-sorted and sent where they should not be going, massive amounts of them. I'm told it happened in 2020 and it's happening now
— Loren Culp (@LorenCulp) July 23, 2022
Thus far in the 2022 midterm election cycle, the USPS estimates that nearly 40 million ballots have already been sent out to voters across the United States.