Election officials fear thousands of votes could go uncounted if the US leaves the Universal Postal Union

Thousands of absentee ballots could be uncounted in upcoming elections thanks to President Donald Trump’s objection to a treaty which governs the international mail exchange for nearly 200 countries.

Citing disapproval of shipping rates it says unfairly favor China, the White House is weighing a potential withdrawal next month from the Universal Postal Union (UPU), a United Nations agency which allows for global postal service.

Without U.S. membership in the UPU, overseas voters could face high shipping rates for mailing their ballots as well as mass confusion, which could leave thousands of votes uncounted in 2019 and 2020.

“Military and overseas citizens already face enormous hurdles casting their votes,” Matthew Weil, director of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Elections Project, told The Washington Post. “These citizens may be forced to pay up to $70 to return their ballots via private shipping companies, and it’s not clear all states will accept ballots delivered this way.”

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