Report: It’s election boards, not the USPS, that are ill-prepared for first-ever mass-mail voting

by WorldTribune Staff, September 4, 2020

The outdated vote by mail procedures used by local election boards will be a major problem for America’s first mass-mail vote, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) said.

Under fire from Democrats who question its readiness for 2020 mail-in voting, the USPS inspector general said in a report this week that local election boards opted to use excess envelopes, minus bar codes, making it impossible to track the ballot applications or ballots.

In 2018, 31 million ballots were cast by mail. Only 4 million, or 13 percent, used mail tracking technology, the USPS inspector general said.

“The Postal Service, mailers, and election boards are not able to track ballot envelopes that do not have barcodes,” the IG said. “According to Postal Service management, some election boards have chosen to continue using excess stock of ballot envelopes without barcodes and some lack the funding for integrating the use of barcodes in their mailing process.”

Public Interest Legal Foundation spokesman Logan Churchwell told The Washington Times: “The postal service is correct to note that recipient addresses are out of date. For years, we’ve raised alarm about bloated and outdated voter registration records that, if used as the foundation for a mail ballot election, could be catastrophic. Just like ‘going to war with the army you have,’ we’re doing the same with voter addresses. In 2020, dead people and those holding duplicated registrations will get ballots.”

USPS also has also been urging canvassing boards to ensure they have the correct addresses for voters to avoid huge numbers of ballots being returned unopened.

Other problems the inspector general found:

• Boards are using envelopes that can cause the ballot to be sent back to the voter instead of counted because they contain two addresses.
• Boards are planning on sending ballots too close to election day for carriers to meet state deadlines. Officials should mail ballots at least 15 days before Nov. 3, yet 48 states let voters request absentee ballots inside that time span.
• There is a muddle of different requirements for postmarks. Nearly 30 states have no requirement. The other states have different dates for when the ballot can be counted.
• States have no consistent policies for updating voter lists. “This can cause absentee ballots intended for voters to be returned to election officials as undeliverable,” the IG said.

“Such was the case in Nevada, where Democrats quickly shifted to an all-mail election and sent hundreds of thousands of ballots off voters lists even if not requested,” Washington Times reporter Rowan Scarborough noted.

The Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) said Nevada’s Clark County opted for actual ballots, not applications, to all listed voters in the state’s June primary.

Las Vegas-centric Clark County, Nevada’s largest, mailed 1.3 million ballots; USPS determined 223,469 were undeliverable. Voters filled out and returned 305,008.

“These numbers show how vote by mail fails,” said PILF President J. Christian Adams.

Adams said developing a workable mass-mail election takes time. States are now trying to cram a totally new system into a few months planning time because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“New proponents of mail balloting don’t often understand how it actually works,” Adams said. “States like Oregon and Washington spent many years building their mail voting systems and are notably aggressive with voter list maintenance efforts. Pride in their own systems does not somehow transfer across state lines. Nevada, New York, and others are not and will not be ready for November.”

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