An unscientific take a look at of the US Postal Service discovered a big drop-off in supply occasions of First Class Mail throughout the United States in October.
Investigative Units from NBC Owned tv stations together with NBCLX and CNBC have performed three comparable exams since final August.
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In all, the crew despatched 809 letters to not less than 64 completely different cities across the United States.
NBC Bay Area’s Investigative crew alone mailed 262 letters from Post Office areas in Oakland, San Francisco and San Jose.
This time, with the presidential election simply weeks away, our take a look at discovered vital slowdowns.
The on-time supply success price for three-day supply was simply 79%, in contrast to an 88% success price in our August and September exams.
The US Postal Service’s inner efficiency numbers launched late Friday additionally confirmed a slight decline in efficiency in comparison with September, although a lot smaller than what NBC Stations discovered in our unscientific take a look at.
The late October press launch reads in half: First-Class Mail: 85.58% of First-Class Mail was delivered on time, a 0.57% lower from the week of Oct. 3.
“The U.S. Postal Service’s general recommendation is that, as a common-sense measure, voters should mail their completed ballot before Election Day, and at least one week prior to their state’s deadline.”
This month, the Postal Service’s personal Inspector General issued a report blaming poor efficiency on modifications applied by new Postmaster General Louis DeJoy.
Even so, elections observers say the poor First Class three-day supply efficiency in October is not prone to have any actual affect on voting by mail.
While solely 79% of the mail in our take a look at arrived inside three days, greater than 98% of our letters arrived inside 5 days.
Mark Dimondstein, nationwide president of the American Postal Workers’ Union based mostly in Washington, D.C. has been important of the modifications applied by Postmaster General DeJoy. But Dimondstein stated he doesn’t consider the drop-off in efficiency will have an effect on mail-in ballots or November’s Presidential Election.
“There’s no question that the election mail is getting absolute priority treatment,” Dimondstein informed NBC. “I wouldn’t necessarily conflate what’s happening with the mail overall with what’s happening to election mail. I think election mail is going to be treated, and should be, with great priority.”
While Postmaster General DeJoy wasn’t accessible to reply NBC’s questions on this newest decline in efficiency, high postal officers held a digital information convention final week the place NBC requested them in regards to the October slowdown.
Chief Retail and Delivery Officer Kristin Seaver didn’t instantly reply NBC’s inquiry, however insisted “election mail will not be delayed.”
“We take seriously our mission,” Seaver stated. “We are stabilizing, and we are operating at what we would call our COVID pandemic levels. The Postal Service is deploying all available resources to ensure that all election mail moves timely through our system and gets to the intended recipient on time. And we will continue to have that focus through the election.”
USPS spokesman Michael Hotovy, a Strategic Communications Specialist positioned in Washington, D.C. issued this assertion:
Without a assessment of the particular mailpieces and mailing circumstances, the Postal Service can’t substantiate that your take a look at represents an inexpensive approximation of postal requirements as utilized to our mailstream, together with processing and supply. National statistics just lately launched by the Postal Service present that for the week of Oct. 10-16, 85.57% of First Class Mail was delivered on time, with 97.81% delivered inside two days of the service customary. Additional statistics will be discovered at https://about.usps.com/what/performance/service-performance/welcome.htm
Despite these assurances, some residents dwelling in the Bay Area are involved by what they’ve skilled to date.
Oakland resident April Thomas discovered one thing unusual whereas strolling via her neighborhood: A pile of mail in the center of the road containing 5 mail-in ballots addresses to Oakland residents.
“My partner and I were just walking the dog. This is our usual walking route,” Thomas stated.
“I saw a huge pile of mail right over here,” Thomas stated, describing the scene. “The whole area was covered with mail pieces. And there were five ballots (with) real ballots in (the envelopes).”
Thomas stated she’s involved the ballots might by no means attain their vacation spot.
“You could see the ballots right on top,” stated Thomas. “One of them was already opened. I didn’t have my phone with me so I picked up the ballots and took them home with me and took a picture so I could document it and send them in to the county”
“That could be five people disenfranchised just sitting in front of me in the street,” Thomas stated. “So I was really worried about it.”
April Thomas isn’t the one one.
Ninety-eight residents in Berkeley waited weeks for their mail-in-ballots to reach, and as of final week, they nonetheless hadn’t.
“Our household we have four registered voters and none of our ballots has arrived,” stated Berkeley resident Julie Bussgang. “This year we’ve had a lot of problems with mail delivery. Have not had mail in the last three days.”
The Alameda County Registrar of Voters informed NBC Bay Area that the workplace despatched all of the residents in query mail-in-ballots via the mail. According to Registrar Tim Dupuis, these 98 ballots didn’t make it via the automation course of, the place machines kind via mountains of mail that then go to the postal carriers.
But elections officers stay upbeat and consider the problems NBC discovered with supply efficiency is not going to affect California vote-by-mail operations.
“Our voters in Santa Clara County, in the state, should feel comfortable voting by mail,” stated Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters Shannon Bushey. “If you have any concern whatsoever about the post office, you have two other choices right now.”
Bushey is referring to the choice California voters have of dropping off accomplished ballots at drop field areas round every county, vote facilities opening on Halloween, or at any elections workplace.
Stephen Stock, Michael Bott, Mark Villarreal, Michael Horn and Jeremy Carroll – www.nbcbayarea.com