Election officials turn attention to possible postal service slowdowns ahead of November election

Kirsten Swanson
Updated: August 11, 2020 06:17 PM
Created: August 11, 2020 03:50 PM

Concerns over the postal service slowdown is at the top of the list for Minnesota's Secretary of State, as officials turn their attention to preparations for the November general election.

Sec. Steve Simon told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS that a group of secretaries of state is asking to meet with the new postmaster general, to get to the bottom of recent reports that policy changes have impacted the speed at which mail is delivered.

"We want to make sure that we can get assurances from the postal service that given all the sort of tidal wave of people voting by mail that we will not have to worry about undue mail delays in November," Simon said.

Absentee and mail-in voting surged in the wake of the global pandemic, with more than 624,000 voters requesting ballots ahead of election day, nine times the level from two years ago.

Congress urges Postal Service to undo changes slowing mail

Simon said if he does not get reassurances from the postal service, he said that could result in changes to the state's official voter guidance.

"We would tell voters, if we detected more delays, to not give it a week but to give it more than a week: eight, nine, maybe 10 days," he said.

For the general election, ballots in Minnesota must be postmarked by Nov. 3 and must arrive no later than Nov. 10, one week after Election Day.

While the secretary of state's office has not issued any official guidance on when ballots should be mailed, Simon said people should be prepared to be flexible and to vote and mail your ballot earlier than later.

"Based on what the post office tells us, that's going to directly impact what we advise voters as to when they should drop it in the mail to get it in on time," Simon said.

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