Across The Country, Americans Face Crisis As President Trump And Postmaster General DeJoy Undermine Post Office During Global Pandemic – Schumer, Peters Call For Americans To Share Their Stories

August 11, 2020
Louisville Courier-Journal (KY): Postal Service's Cost Cutting Is Frustrating Kentuckians — And Raising Election Concerns
 
CBS 2 Chicago (IL): Postal Problems Mean No Checks, No Medications For Weeks
 
Philadelphia Inquirer (PA): Mail Delays Are Frustrating Philly Residents, And A Short-Staffed Postal Service Is Struggling To Keep Up
 
Fox News 8 (NC): Mail Delays Hurting Local Small Business Owners
 
Lansing State Journal (MI): Michigan Absentee Voting Smashed Records. Now Officials Are Worried About Mail Delays

Washington, D.C. – Following reports the U.S. Postal Service operational changes are leading to delays in mail delivery, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Gary Peters (D-MI) are asking for individuals, small businesses and organizations who are directly affected by Postal Service delays or operational changes to share their stories. Members of the public can report problems by visiting www.peters.senate.gov/postal.
 
“The newly instituted polices from Postmaster General DeJoy have contributed to inexcusable delays in mail delivery and caused deep concern among Americans about the Post Office’s ability to ensure medications, packages, and elections ballots can be delivered in a timely manner,” said Leader Schumer. “We should be implementing policies and devoting resources to make sure that every American can vote safely and confidently, in person and by mail. But instead we’re seeing cuts in staffing and overtime and now, the Postal Service has informed some states the costs for delivering ballots could be triple the normal rates, which would be outrageous and unjustifiable. My colleagues and I remain committed to oversight of the Postal Service and encourage anyone who is seeing delays to report them through the Ranking Member’s investigation.”
 
“Americans count on the Postal Service to provide reliable, on-time delivery, even in the worst of conditions. I’ve heard too many alarming reports from constituents, postal workers and local officials in Michigan who have encountered problems with the timely and dependable service they count on to conduct business, get prescription medications and critical supplies, and even exercise their right to vote.” said Senator Peters. “As Ranking Member of the committee charged with oversight of the Postal Service, I’ve launched an investigation into any changes that the new Postmaster General may be directing that undermine the Postal Service’s longstanding tradition of effective service.”
 
Across the country, Americans are already facing serious delays.
 
CALIFORNIA
 
The Salinas Californian: Late deliveries, missing mail: Hundreds of Salinas residents want answers from USPS. “Hundreds of Salinas residents are complaining of a lack of mail and on-time deliveries, which, they say, can even impact their finances… Commenters reported missing or late mail, seeing their mail carrier delivering mail as late as 10:30 p.m. and receiving digital delivery notifications up to a day before their packages actually arrived at their homes or businesses.” [The Salinas Californian, 7/22/20]
 
KRON: Mail delay blamed for uptick in turkey chick deaths. “A slow down of operations at the US Postal Service is causing mail delays across the country but it’s not just paper mail and packages being held up — Bay Area farmers say the slowdown is costing them their livestock as well. The US Postal Service is the only real option when it comes to transporting livestock and the owner of a small Sonoma County farm, says the slowdown of shipments is quite literally killing her turkey business. ‘It took the turkey chicks so long to get here, they were half dead when I got them out of the box,’ Anna Erickson, owner of Hands Full Farm in Valley Ford, said.” [KRON, 8/9/20]
 
ILLINOIS
 
CBS 2 Chicago: Postal Problems Mean No Checks, No Medications For Weeks. “With a pandemic, elections, pharmaceuticals, and stimulus checks, the mail has never been more vital and is life or death for some. ‘It took us three weeks to get our medication through the mail service,’ said Chicago resident Barbara Jackson. Snail mail may be too kind.” [CBS 2, 8/7/20]
 
NBC News 13: Postal services are falling behind due to COVID-19, Postal Shoppe says to expect delays. “‘We were seeing slowdowns in our priority mail and some of our packages weren't tracking. We have been trying to tell people that priority mail is not three to five days, it can be averaging a week to two,’ said [Postal Shoppe owner] Hinkle. Hinkle says staff is working like it would in December during peak season but this time without the additional help… Postal Shoppe says in a few months, mail-in ballots could pose a concern if people wait till the last minute.” [NBC News 13, 7/31/20]
 
KENTUCKY
 
Louisville Courier-Journal: Postal Service's cost cutting is frustrating Kentuckians — and raising election concerns. “No white van with the familiar blue logo. No packages. No smiling mail carrier. Just an empty mail box. And it stayed empty. For six consecutive days… Again this week, Jenkins had not received mail for two days. And with his wife having surgery in the middle of July, he has wanted to receive billing information in a timely manner. ‘With medical bills and all those type of things coming in the mail, it's been really frustrating,’ Jenkins said.” [Louisville Courier-Journal, 8/7/20]
 
LOUISIANA
 
ABC KTBS 3: Postal customers frustrated by delayed shipments due to coronavirus. “‘And it's just frustrating when we're paying for 2 days and then 2 weeks it's still not there,’ she added. Lavender drove to the Shreveport facility to resend boxes of packages that she says her business sent out more than a week ago, but were returned to her. She says she was also told by a postal worker that slowdown from the coronavirus is to blame for shipping problems. ‘They told us to understand everything going on. So they're short handed. They need people to come to work. They said that a lot of people are calling in. They say they need more workers,’ Lavender says.’” [ABC KTBS 3, 8/5/20]
 
MARYLAND
 
Baltimore Sun: Where’s my mail? As Baltimore-area customers complain of USPS delays, officials wrangle over election ballot deadlines. “Delayed paychecks, mailboxes left empty for days at a stretch, missing-in-action packages from the online orders that have replaced in-person shopping for many during the coronavirus pandemic. Where is the mail?... In a scene replayed across the country, Czempinski joined a line that stretched out from the Dundalk post office throughout the morning Friday as frustrated residents tried to track down missing mail. She hadn’t received a single piece of mail since sometime last month, even as she sees postal trucks driving by without stopping.” [Baltimore Sun, 8/8/20]
 
CBS Baltimore: ‘It’s Been A Week Or More’; Baltimore County Residents Frustrated By Recent USPS Mail Delays. “For weeks, many Marylanders have been frustrated by mail delays, and some haven’t been getting their mail at all. ‘Me and my wife have been sitting here waiting for mail for the last five days,’ said Dundalk resident William Ellison. Dozens of frustrated Dundalk residents said they can’t figure out why USPS isn’t delivering their mail.” [CBS Baltimore, 8/7/20]
 
ABC News 9: Baltimore-area plagued by slow, missing mail. “The line stretches outside and down the sidewalk at the post office in Dundalk. It's becoming a daily occurrence. Most people are here to pick up their mail. Some say they haven’t gotten any in two weeks. ‘I’m waiting on unemployment, a card and it’s just not showing up. So it should be here today, but it should’ve been here a week ago too, so I don’t really know,’ Kasandra Peros said. She said she needs the money to pay bills like her car insurance, and she’s not alone.” [ABC News 9, 8/7/20]
 
MASSACHUSETTS
 
Wicked Local: Amid postal delays, Brookline official cautions against waiting to request a mail-in ballot. “Don’t wait to get your ballot request in, says Jeff Nutting, a consultant in the Brookline town clerk’s office… However, Nutting said the Aug. 26 deadline ‘is not a practical date.’ The U.S. Postal Service is experiencing backlogs of mail throughout the country… Some of those mail concerns are starting to trickle down to the local level. ‘We have received some mail in ballot applications that were postmarked 5 days earlier than when we received them,’ Nutting said.” [Wicked Local, 8/4/20]
 
Martha’s Vineyard Times: Packages and frustration pile up. “[Dan Seidman] went to the Vineyard Haven Post Office, only to find, like so many other Vineyarders in recent weeks, that while his package may have made it to the Island, his wait for it was just beginning. Missing packages, delayed orders, and general frustration are typical complaints with Island Post Offices, but in this summer of the coronavirus pandemic, at-home ordering has reached new levels, causing a backlog at the Post Office... The Post Office blames a more than 50 percent increase in package volume, and not enough workers to meet the demand.” [Martha’s Vineyard Times, 8/3/20]
 
MICHIGAN
 
Lansing State Journal: Michigan absentee voting smashed records. Now officials are worried about mail delays. “Statewide, more than 10,000 absentee ballots were rejected, the Michigan Secretary of State's office said Thursday morning. The office did not have a breakdown of the reasons for rejection, but predicted that estimate would climb as more late ballots arrive by mail. Late arrival was the reason for more than half of the ballots rejected in Michigan's March 2020 primary, the Michigan Secretary of State's Office noted.” [Lansing State Journal, 8/6/20]
 
Bridge (MI): Postal delays could cause trouble for Michigan’s primary election. “While elections and postal officials maintain election-related mail will be expedited, some Michigan clerks are already reporting mail delays and worry they may impact not only the primary but the Nov. 3 general election as well. Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum said it’s recently taken more than three weeks for her to send death certificates and other mail even within a 15-mile radius. ‘If it’s grandma’s medication now, it’s likely going to be ballots later,’ Byrum said, referring to mail delays. ‘It’s extraordinarily concerning when we’re coming into election season when any mail slows down.’ The stakes are high: In Michigan, it doesn’t matter when you send your ballot, only when it’s received. Ballots that reach local clerks after Election Day don’t count, even if they’re postmarked before it.” [Bridge, 7/29/20]
 
ABC News 13: Sen. Peters says 'hundreds' of Michiganders experience mail delays, calls for answers.  “Senator Gary Peters, (D-Mich.), said in a media update Monday he has heard from "hundreds" of people experiencing a delay in their mail.  Last week, Peters announced he opened an investigation into the United States Postal Service (USPS), in light of changes from a newly appointed Postmaster General, Louis DeJoy.” [ABC News 13, 8/10/20]
 
MINNESOTA
 
Washington Post: Their mail was not delivered for days. Now these Minneapolis residents are worried about their votes counting. “Minneapolis resident Stephanie Wilford, who is considered high risk for contracting covid-19 because of a heart condition, planned to vote by mail in her state primary Tuesday. But with just days left until Election Day, the 60-year-old had not received her absentee ballot. In fact, her public housing complex of 567 residents had mysteriously stopped receiving any mail for more than a week. ‘I’m pissed off. We’re not getting mail for some reason,’ said Wilford, who now plans to go to the polls in person Tuesday. ‘I’ve had one heart attack already and I’m not trying to have another.’” [Washington Post, 8/8/20]
 
MISSOURI
 
KSDK News 5: Delays at the post office could force Missouri absentee voters to the polls. “The COVID-19 pandemic threatens to disrupt two elections in Missouri, in August and November. Officials are urging residents to avoid packed public spaces, but delays at the post office mean many will need to vote in person anyway… Ronald Brown of St. Louis County said that he and his wife delivered their ballots to a post office in person more than a week ago. For nine days, the online ballot tracking system said his ballot was still waiting to be processed by the United States Postal Service.” [KSDK News 5, 8/3/20]
 
MONTANA
 
Billings Post-Gazette: Postal delays spark concerns about service, mail ballot elections. “For letter carrier Julie Quilliam, the new rules contradict everything she’s ever known about the Postal Service’s priorities. ‘They don’t want to use the manpower. We have it. That’s what we’ve always done, ‘every piece every day’ was the motto,’’ Quilliam said… ‘You want your paycheck if it’s supposed to come on Friday. You don’t want it next Wednesday.’ On Thursday, a group of Billings postal employees and advocates rallied at the corner of 24th Street West and Central Avenue. They held signs with sentiments like, "save the mail" and "U.S. Mail is not for sale.” [Billings Post-Gazette, 8/9/20]
 
NEW JERSEY
 
Union News Daily: Residents grow increasingly frustrated with spotty USPS. “Many residents from towns throughout Essex and Union counties have reached out to the newspaper in the past few weeks to complain that their mail is arriving late — if at all. A woman from Union Township described her experience, saying, ‘Monday there’s no mail, Tuesday there’s no mail, Wednesday there’s no mail, Thursday there’s no mail, then, finally, Friday, I get all the mail I was supposed to be getting during the week.’” [Union News Daily, 8/3/20]
 
NEW YORK
 
Rochester Democrat and Chronicle: 'Where's my mail?'; Mail delivery slowed; workers blame policies. “Rochester-area postal customers have begun to mutter on social media and across the back yard fence that U.S. mail delivery has suddenly taken a turn for the worse. First-class mail is showing up later than expected - sometimes many days later.” [The Democrat and Chronicle, 7/22/20]
 
NORTH CAROLINA
 
Fox News 8: Mail delays hurting local small business owners. “Mitchell’s felt the effects of recent postal delays, and it’s starting to hurt his bookstore. Sending books through the USPS saves money. ‘Lots of small businesses rely on certain postage rates that are considerably cheaper. Every commercial business that’s not like a restaurant on this street uses the postal service to mail out product. Every single one,’ Mitchell said of Elm Street.  He’s worried if these delays stick around, small business owners could be losing even more sales during the pandemic.” [Fox News 8, 8/9/20]
 
OHIO
 
WCPO ABC 9: Where's my mail? Complaints soar about postal delays. “People everywhere are complaining of late letters and missing packages. Gary Favors has been checking the Post Office every day, near his home in St. Bernard, Ohio… ‘It's been a spiral effect of missing packages and medication,’ he said. ‘I don't know what to do.’ Favors depends on the mailman to deliver his prescriptions from the VA, but his medicine is now often late. When he tracked one of his packages, he found it was stuck in a local Cincinnati sorting facility.” [WCPO ABC 9, 8/11/20]
 
ABC News 13: Northwest Ohio letter carriers ponder the mystery of mail delays. “Hayden says delivery was pretty normal in March and April during the first wave of COVID-19, even with package volume at near holiday levels. But something has changed recently. ‘We got the mail delivered at that time and we’re not currently. So you can make your own assumptions,’ said Hayden. Some carriers are telling the I-Team they’re being told no overtime and stop shifts at eight hours. If the packages make it out, letters may not. The union has nothing official. ‘It looks like they are delaying mail, that routes are not going out, they’re not getting delivered. And again we haven’t gotten any concise reason why, what rhyme or reason there is behind it,’ said Hayden.” [ABC News 13, 7/27/20]
 
ProPublica: The Postal Service Is Steadily Getting Worse — Can It Handle a National Mail-In Election? “Two weeks after the polls closed in this year’s Ohio primary, two U.S. Postal Service employees showed up in the office of Diane Noonan, the director of elections in Butler County. The workers carried a tray of 317 unopened ballots that had been sitting in a Postal Service warehouse since the day before the election. The ballots would have counted if they had been delivered on time. Now, there was no way to legally count them… During Ohio’s April 28 primary, mail delivery had been so slow that the secretary of state publicly warned voters and called for the Postal Service to add staff.” [ProPublica, 7/15/20]
 
PENNSYLVANIA
 
Philadelphia Inquirer: Mail delays are frustrating Philly residents, and a short-staffed Postal Service is struggling to keep up. “Neighborhoods across the Philadelphia region are experiencing significant delays in receiving their mail, with some residents going upwards of three weeks without packages and letters, leaving them without medication, paychecks, and bills… According to local union leaders and carriers, mail is piling up in offices, unscanned and unsorted. Mail carriers who spoke with The Inquirer said they are overwhelmed, working long hours yet still unable to finish their routes. Offices are so short-staffed that when a carrier is out, a substitute is often not assigned to their route.” [Philadelphia Inquirer, 8/2/20]
 
WHYY: Philadelphia’s big mail problem. “Some Philly neighborhoods haven’t gotten mail delivered in three weeks, leaving some residents scrambling for their medications and paychecks. Democratic lawmakers are now raising the alarm. One big concern? That the U.S. Postal Service won’t be able to handle a surge of mail-in ballots for November’s presidential election.” [WHYY, 8/6/20]
 
TENNESSEE
 
The Tennessean: Post office delays create uncertainty; Concerns arise for businesses, upcoming election. “In the Nashville area, employees are being moved from one short-staffed office to another in an attempt to maintain workable levels, but this doesn't alleviate any staffing issues… During the pandemic, packages have been delayed days or even several weeks. Some never arrive. Elena said she finds herself devoting more and more time and resources to corresponding with customers who have not received their orders. It has cost her business a ‘significant chunk’ of money.” [The Tennessean, 8/6/20]
 
ABC News 9: Local postal workers say your mail could be delayed. “NewsChannel9 reached out to the local postal union, Chattanooga American Postal Workers Union. Their president Judy Stocker says people will see mail delays if they haven’t already… Stocker said that this will impact more than just their paychecks. ‘He's not only cutting hours, he is cutting service,’ Stocker said… We reached out to residents of the St. Elmo Chattanooga Neighborhood group on Facebook, asking if they have seen any delays in their mail. We received several responses saying that they are still waiting longer than normal on their deliveries.” [ABC News 9, 7/30/20]
 
VIRGINIA
 
ABC 13 News Now: People in Hampton Roads feeling impact of US Postal Service delivery delays. “Suffolk homeowner Wulf Berg served 21 years in the United States Air Force. Berg is retired and was waiting more days than usual for his mail to arrive. ‘I did not receive any mail on Tuesday or Wednesday,’ said Berg… ‘I have to get my medication through the mail order. And guess what? It comes through the mail. I have ordered medication about a week ago and I don’t know where the medication is,’ he said.” [ABC 13 News Now, 7/16/20]
 
WISCONSIN
 
CBS 58: Voters, businesses concerned over delayed United States Postal Service mail times. “Voters and business owners in our area are raising concerns over delayed mail times with the United States Postal Service. Whitefish Bay voter Wes Manko dropped off his absentee ballot to USPS on Saturday, Aug. 1, and as of Monday night, the clerk’s office has not received his ballot… ‘Any senior citizen is affected by this, any hardworking American that thinks their vote counts is affected by this, anyone with pre-existing conditions is affected by this,’ said Manko.” [CBS 58, 8/10/20]
 
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Service changes could slow state's mail delivery; USPS is vital lifeline in pandemic, election. “Sippel, like many Americans, didn't know the post office is facing financial difficulties. What Sippel does know, she said, is how important it is to get packages delivered to her home, where sometimes the letter carrier brings them to the door because he knows she has small children… In Malone, Julie Schneider visits the post office almost every day because she's wary of putting bills and other mail for pickup in her mailbox… ‘I just think it's essential. I can't believe we're even talking about considering not funding it.’” [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 7/17/20]
 
ProPublica: The Postal Service Is Steadily Getting Worse — Can It Handle a National Mail-In Election? “On April 8, one day after Wisconsin’s primary, a Postal Service official found 1,600 ballots headed for Appleton and Oshkosh in an area plant, according to a May report by the Wisconsin Election Commission. Those ballots never reached voters… Botcher’s office delivered the ballots by hand to the local post office each day. Still, 100 to 150 ballots per day were sent back to his offices in the week before the election. On Election Day, Fox Point village offices received a tray with 175 such ballots. It’s unclear how many Fox Point voters were disenfranchised.” [ProPublica, 7/15/20]
 
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