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MT Postal Worker: Don't Lose Faith in Post Office

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Wednesday, August 19, 2020   

LIVINGSTON, Mont. -- The U.S. Postal Service has warned Montana and other states that ballots may not arrive in time to be counted in the November election, raising alarms that voters could be disenfranchised. But one post office worker says folks should put more faith in the Postal Service.

Robin Eddy, state steward for the Montana Postal Workers Union and a mail clerk in Livingston, said there already are protocols in place, based on past elections, for securing mail-in voting.

"We work closely with the election officials in our county," she said. "They come in two, three times a day, check their box. We go through the dropbox and pull out any ballots when we get within the last couple of days, and make sure that they're either hand-delivered to the election officials or we call them, tell them there's stuff down there."

Gov. Steve Bullock has granted Montana counties the option to conduct the November election completely by mail.

President Donald Trump has said that mail-in balloting could produce a "rigged" election, making the issue into a partisan flashpoint. But Eddy said USPS workers try to stay out of the political fray and focus on doing their jobs.

"We're Switzerland," she said. "It comes in, we sort it, we deliver it."

She also noted many safeguards are in place to ensure the security of the mail.

One of the biggest concerns is the sheer volume of ballots expected this November. In a letter to congressional Democrats, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy said this was the concern he wanted to raise in letters warning states about delivery times. However, Eddy noted, the USPS handles large mail volumes on occasions other than elections.

"We process over 1.3 billion mail cards, Christmas cards at Christmas time," she said, "and the ballots are nowhere near that many."

On Saturday, critics of the Trump administration are holding a Save The Post Office Day, encouraging supporters to show up at their local post offices at 11 a.m. local time.

Information about the Saturday event is online at twitter.com.

Disclosure: American Postal Workers Union contributes to our fund for reporting on Consumer Issues, Livable Wages/Working Families. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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