Post office concerns highlighted at Senate hearing on elections amid COVID-19

Will the postal service deliver ballots on time for votes to be counted in November?

Wednesday’s hearing at Senate Rules panel, which has jurisdiction over election operations matters, was more broadly about preparations for the November election in the midst of the global COVID-19 pandemic. The status of the postal service became a recurring theme.

The hearing came as talks were underway about what to include in the next round of emergency relief, as the pandemic continues to cause havoc on both people’s health and the economy.

Concerns about the post office’s ability to handle a national election that will largely be conducted by mail because of COVID-19 were bipartisan, despite President Donald Trump’s continued criticism of mail-in ballots.

“There was $10 billion in the CARES Act as a loan to the post office. To my knowledge, it has not happened, and yet the post office is facing imminent insolvency,” Maine Sen. Angus King said. “Given that there are now nine states that predominantly vote by mail and many others who will see a great deal of additional voting by mail, we have to provide them with the infrastructure that votes by mail can be counted.”

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