Major Delays in Mail Delivery Have People Worried It Could Impact 2024 Election

AP Photo/Lynne Sladky

Here in the Susitna Valley, when it's time to vote, we proceed on Election Day to our local community center, where we present our IDs, get checked off the voting roll, sign in, and then fill out a paper ballot. Those paper ballots are placed in a box and counted by humans. Now, granted, that system works well here, where our little rural community can expect fewer than 2,000 voters most years.


Many states and municipalities across the land have, however, resorted to mail-in ballots. It's easy to imagine many ways in which this system is fraught, but now a major overhaul of the U.S. Postal Service - the timing of which is surely coincidental - is threatening to delay the delivery of mail-in ballots in the November election.

Across the country, residents and businesses have been reporting widespread slowdowns in mail and package delivery by the U.S. Postal Service. The delays have become so persistent that members of Congress have gotten involved, urging the Postal Service to drastically correct course and raising concern about what impact the disruptions could have on mail-in ballots in the upcoming election.

The delays appear to largely stem from a new system the Postal Service began rolling out last fall that will eventually funnel all the nation’s letters and packages through a consolidated network of 60 regional distribution centers — similar to the airlines’ hub-and-spoke model. The change is part of a wider $40 billion, 10-year overhaul of the network that Postmaster General Louis DeJoy has said will reduce costs, improve reliability and make the Postal Service more competitive.

Frankly, the postal service could use an overhaul. And some areas depend on the post office more than others, like our aforementioned rural community. The post office doesn't deliver to a lot of the outlying houses (like ours), requiring us to go into the post office to get mail. We like it that way. The post office is kind of a little social center. We all know each other, and you bump into friends and acquaintances and catch up on local news. But we see the delays in delivery regularly, living as we do in an area where mail and package deliveries take a while at the best of times; and it doesn't look like it's getting better any time soon.


“It’s just a dumpster fire right now,” said Leo Raymond, a former Postal Service manager and managing director of Mailers Hub, an industry group for direct mail companies. He said his members have had everything from customer bills to strategically timed marketing material caught up in the delays. “If you’re a business, you’re going to be discouraged from using the mail because you want your stuff to actually get there.”

And if you're in a mail-in ballot state, you want your vote to actually get there in time. There are enough issues with elections as it is, without the mail messing things up.

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Vote-by-mail was never a good idea. Colorado adopted the system, and our kids who live in the area get around it by dropping their ballot envelopes in the drop boxes instead of relying on the mail. But then, there have been plenty of shenanigans around those drop boxes, too. But, post office troubles or not, plenty of people are stuck with this system.

Want to make sure your vote counts? Show up, on Election Day. If your area provides for it, cast your vote in person. If, like Colorado, your area is 100 percent mail-in, drop your ballot in the box instead of trusting the mail. Nothing is 100 percent in this world, but at least you know you did all you could to ensure your vote was recorded.




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