With just weeks until the 2020 election, the USPS is racing to prepare for a historic surge in mail-in voting. Our recent analysis of USPS records, which we received via Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, suggests that the number of mail-delivery complaints has risen since March, especially in communities of color.
For nearly 250 years, the United States Postal Service (USPS) has been a cherished giant of public life. Its reach is immense: In 2019, postal workers traveled 1.34 billion miles to deliver nearly 143 billion pieces of mail around the globe. Its employees number more than 630,000, and it handles 48 percent of the world’s mail. Its size has not tarnished its image: 9 in 10 people in the United States approve of the Postal Service, making it the most popular government agency.
But this year, the USPS faces new challenges. The pandemic has depressed its revenue. Cost-cutting measures by the Postmaster General have strained its work. And millions of voters have already mailed ballots.