Letter to the Editor: Will US Postal Service Issues Impact Upcoming Elections?

I continue to receive frequent complaints about the US Postal Service from residents who complain about late mail delivery, mail being delivered to wrong addresses, checks, bills not arriving, not receiving prescription drugs.

I bring this up because on June 23rd there will be an important primary contest for President, members of Congress, State Assembly and District Attorney in Westchester. The Governor has directed that residents have the ability to cast their ballots by absentee ballot – even if they are home (because of COVID-19).  Although I think the Governor’s initiatives to make it easier to vote is an excellent idea I am worried. The US Postal Service is a mess – not reliable.  The President of the United States has not provided the Postal Service with the resources they need to do their job of providing reliable service.

I  have suggested that the Board of Elections consider sending everyone who sends in an absentee ballot a confirmation email so they know that their vote is being counted. If they send in the ballots and the Board of Elections doesn’t confirm that it’s been received the voter would have the option to ask for another absentee ballot (if there is time) or vote in person–ensuring that their vote is counted. In the NY Times (May 27,2020) there is a report which indicated that in “Green County, outside Dayton, 12.1% of ballots arrived too late to be counted.” In large counties 1.7% of mail ballots were not received in time to meet the deadline.  Every vote cast in a democracy needs to be counted.

Please take a look at the following: A Facebook posting from County Legislator Lyndon Williams who expresses concern about late mail delivery in Mount Vernon. One resident complained that it took 25 days for mail to arrive. Also please see an email from the Co-Chair of the NYS Board of Elections Douglas Kellner expressing concern about mail delivery. And a third e mail from a constituent highlighting problems with the Postal Service.

This is not being written to object to mail ballots. I think it’s a good thing. My only concern: Will votes be counted?
PAUL FEINER
Greenburgh Town Supervisor

From County Legislator Williams Facebook page

Lyndon Williams

Yesterday at 1:43 PM ·

I’m concerned about the delay of mail delivery from the U.S. Postal Service and its impact on the deadlines for voters mailing absentee ballots. For example, a constituent informed me yesterday that it took 25 days for a postcard to be delivered from an address in zip code 10552 to another address in the same 10552 zip code. This year voting on MV School Board, School Budget, and Public Library budget and trustees can only be done by absentee ballots.

From Co-chair NYS Board of Elections

From: Kellner, Douglas (ELECTIONS) <Douglas.Kellner@elections.ny.gov>
Sent: Wednesday, April 29, 2020 12:40 PM
To: Paul Feiner
Cc: Spano, Andrew J (ELECTIONS); Brehm, Robert (ELECTIONS); Connolly, Thomas (ELECTIONS); RAL4@Westchestergov.com; david.buchwald@gmail.com; amypaulin@gmail.com; estroff@nysenate.gov; higgins@nysenate.gov; tjaesq@aol.com; jnonna@westchestergov.com; okeefek@nyassembly.gov; Quail, Brian (ELECTIONS)
Subject: Voting by mail

Dear Supervisor Feiner,

I appreciate your very thoughtful letter regarding the problems with relying on the US Postal Service to have such an important role in the administration of our elections. This has been an issue that has concerned me for many years. This has also been a significant topic in our advice to the Executive Chamber as they draft Governor Cuomo’s emergency executive orders. If I had more time I would share some of our proposals, but I could summarize by indicating that we insisted that there must still be an option to vote in person, both in early voting and on election day to assure that everyone has an option to vote regardless of the adequacy of mail delivery–all the while we are encouraging most to vote by mail in view of the pandemic.

We still need to address security issues relating to mailed ballots, and to assure that the Postal Service makes timely delivery of voted ballots to the county boards of elections.

These are challenging times and I will keep you in mind as we try to flesh out these issues in the very short time available.

Doug

Douglas A. Kellner
Co-Chair, New York State Board of Elections

From a resident who has postal service problems

Dear Mr. Feiner:

I hope you are well.  I wanted to make you aware that our local U.S. Mail delivery is still a problem.  I live in Edgebrook Cooperative in North White Plains.  Recently, I had ordered a box of facial masks due to Covid-19 from Amazon.com and they were to be delivered by the U.S. Postal service.  They were going to take some time to arrive so I waited weeks and then checked my account at Amazon and it was noted that they were delivered last week, April 23, 2020, but I had never received them.  They may have made it to the local post office, but I never received them.  What concerns me is that those in my household are still waiting for their
Stimulus checks from the government and also for a drivers license renewal.   Please let me know if anyone is looking into the incompetency of the local U.S. Postal service.
Please kindly confirm receipt of my email and let me now if there is anyone else that I should contact.

Thank you,
Mary

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About the Author: Paul Feiner