Washington — Postmaster General Louis DeJoy assured Congress Friday that the U.S. Postal Service will be able to process the nation’s mail-in ballots in November.
“As we head into the election season, I want to assure this committee, and the American public, that the Postal Service is fully capable of delivering the nation’s election mail securely and on time,” DeJoy said.
DeJoy, who has been at the center of controversy over cost-cutting changes to the Postal Service that led to concerns about the ability to handle mail-in ballots for the November election, testified Friday before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
The major Republican donor and close ally of President Trump appeared before the Republican-led panel to answer questions about the mail agency’s finances and operations during the coronavirus pandemic, which has exacerbated the Postal Service’s fiscal woes, and the upcoming general election.
After he was installed as the postmaster general in June he implemented a series of operational changes designed to save the struggling Postal Service money, curtailing overtime and prohibiting postal workers from making extra trips for late-arriving mail. Under his oversight of the agency, there have also been reports of blue mail collection boxes being removed and a reduction in large mail-sorting machines.
The shifts led to a slowdown in mail delivery.
DeJoy said Friday he is “extremely highly confident” the Postal Service will be able to ensure that mailed ballots sent seven days before Election Day will be processed and counted. “We will scour every plant each night leading up to Election Day,” he vowed.
He also expressed support for mail-in voting, telling senators, “I think the American public should be able to vote by mail, and the Postal Service will support it.”
That said, in response to questions about letters sent by the Postal Service to 46 states and the District of Columbia warning that mail-in ballots may not be processed in time to be counted, DeJoy said the problem was with state deadlines for sending election mail. He indicated some deadlines are too close to Election Day and encouraged Americans to vote early.
“I have never spoken to the president about the postal service,” DeJoy said. He also said he never spoken to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin or White House chief of staff Mark Meadows about changes to service.