DelBene Urges Washington Attorney General to Investigate Allegations of Election Interference at Redmond Post Office
Today, Congresswoman Suzan DelBene (WA-01) called on Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson to investigate allegations of election interference at the Redmond postal processing facility, known as the East DDC. Over the past few months, numerous constituents and workers closely associated with the facility have shared information showing a disturbing pattern of actions that would intentionally slow down the facility’s ability to process mail, which services King County.
“I am concerned that these allegations, if true, constitute politically motivated election interference,” DelBene stated in a letter to Ferguson. “Washington uses an entirely vote-by-mail system and over two million voters in our state have already cast their ballot, making timely processing of ballots by the USPS critical so that every vote can be counted.”
On October 9, DelBene sent a letter to Postmaster General Louis DeJoy raising concerns that delivery bar code sorter (DBCS) machines had been turned off or removed from service at the Redmond facility, potentially violating a federal court order in a case that Attorney General Ferguson recently brought and won. DBCSs can sort up to 36,000 pieces of mail per hour and are critical to the efficient and timely delivery of mail.
In response, USPS acknowledged that machines were removed from the facility and failed to address whether the remaining machines were all operating.
“At the East DDC, six machines were removed from service between July 31 and August 14, one of which was subsequently returned to service. Parts from the removed machines were used to extend the capacity of the active machines,” USPS responded but acknowledged “…it is not in the best interest of the Postal Service to disclose information on the existing capacity and total machine inventory at the East DDC.”
This information raises more questions than it answered. While USPS contends these changes will not interfere with returning election ballots or shipping other critical goods, even the appearance of interference undermines the democratic process.
On September 17, 2020, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington issued an injunction requiring USPS to replace, reassemble, or reconnect any equipment that will impede the ability of the postal service to process election mail for the November 2020 election. The court said disabling sorting machines “likely will slow down delivery of ballots” and that there was a “substantial possibility that many voters will be disenfranchised and the states may not be able to effectively, timely, accurately determine election outcomes.”
“Furthermore, the court subsequently declined USPS’s request to omit machines that had been disassembled from its original ruling, suggesting that the four DBCS machines in Redmond whose parts have been removed would fall under the court’s order,” DelBene added in the letter to Ferguson.