Press Releases

DelBene, Larsen Call for Answers Around Postal Delays in Northwest Washington Days Before Election Deadline

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Washington, D.C., July 28, 2022 | comments

Today, Representatives Suzan DelBene (WA-01) and Rick Larsen (WA-02) are calling for answers about widespread mail delays reported to both offices over recent weeks in Whatcom, Snohomish, and Island Counties. These complaints include delayed mail and packages containing medications, bills, and passports; hours-long lines at post offices; repeatedly unserved home mailboxes; and election ballots not delivered or picked up. In a letter to Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, DelBene and Larsen called for the United States Postal Service (USPS) to expeditiously address delays and mail failures.

“When our constituents have asked USPS about the delayed mail delivery, they’ve been repeatedly told that USPS is experiencing severe staffing shortages. We’ve heard that the one-year retention rate for USPS employees for our region may be as low as 34 percent. While we understand that the entire country is grappling with workforce shortages, we believe there are steps USPS can take in the short-term to boost hiring, training, and retention. We deeply appreciate and commend the great work of the USPS employees who are working tirelessly amid these challenging conditions and urge the agency to do more to support these workers,” the lawmakers wrote.

Of particular concern are delays in delivering and returning primary election ballots less than a week before the primary. This comes despite a public commitment from DeJoy earlier this year that USPS would take “extraordinary measures” to ensure timely election mail delivery heading into the 2022 election.

“Washington uses an entirely vote-by-mail system and our primary election is less than a week away, so an efficient postal service is essential for the timely delivery and return of ballots. Some facilities in the area have a significant backlog of ballots that have yet to be delivered and lack staff to run delivery routes every day,” they continue.

The lawmakers asked DeJoy to promptly address the following concerns:

  • Please provide a detailed list of all steps USPS is taking to ensure the timely delivery and return of election mail in Washington state ahead of the August 2nd primary.
  • What measures is USPS taking to address staffing shortages in Washington state?
  • What steps is USPS proactively implementing now ahead of the November general election to ensure similar staffing shortages do not impact the timely processing of election mail?
  • How is USPS using resources and requirements in the Postal Service Reform Act to improve timely mail delivery?
  • Are there additional resources that Congress can provide to help USPS address these staffing challenges and boost timely mail delivery?

The letter can be found here.

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