Democrats are once again preparing to litigate the issue of postal delays in mail-in ballots as the media raises the alarm about slow mail delivery in northern Georgia, where the bulk of the state’s Democrats live.
It’s inevitable. Since the mail will be “delayed,” thousands of votes that arrive after the deadline and are rejected will be challenged in court, despite there being no proof that any ballots were delayed because of post office procedures that have made mail delivery less timely.
Voters who wait until the day before the election to drop their ballots in the mail should get the same legal protections as those who mailed their ballots wat a month ago, Democrats will argue.
According to the most recent USPS filings in federal court, the agency was processing just 76% of ballots on-time, as of Dec. 21, in their Atlanta metro region, which covers most of the northern – and most populated – half of the Peach State.
That means some ballots mailed by Georgia voters 3-5 days before this week’s run-off elections – and even some ballots mailed prior to New Year’s – may not make it to elections offices before the state’s Jan. 5 deadline for the votes to count.
It’s not like the USPS isn’t trying. They’ve made ballots “Priority” mail to get them to the clerk’s office as fast as possible.
The USPS agreed to treat all ballots as Priority Express mail, which typically gets delivered within one day. However, that compromise only came as a result of ongoing litigation from civil rights groups that challenged dozens of Postmaster Louis DeJoy’s cost-cutting and delivery-slowing measures in 2020. The agency also added extra staff and deliveries in Georgia leading up to Election Day.
A USPS spokesperson said December’s increase in mail impacted “scores of all products,” but “Election Mail and ballots have always been prioritized and are performing well above other product lines.”
Not good enough, say Democrats. And given their track record in challenging late-arriving ballots, they’re likely to succeed.
Most key USPS performance indicators did not improve in November, then deteriorated significantly as the December holidays approached; delayed first-class mail tripled nationally from Nov. 14 to Dec. 19, according to federal filings.
While no challenges have been forthcoming as yet, Democrats will make sure, one way or another, that every vote is counted, whether it was legally submitted or not.