WASHINGTON (WJZ) — Maryland senators are asking the Postmaster General for answers on reports of recent changes to USPS practices that could increase delivery times and costs for election mail.

U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin, both D-Md., are urging him to not take any further action “that makes it harder and more expensive for states and election jurisdictions to mail ballots,”

They said they have received reports in the last several weeks that the Post Service sent letters to state election officials that “indicate that the Postal Service will not automatically treat all election mail as First Class,” saying if any changes are made to the “longstanding practices” of moving election mail so close to the 2020 general election, it could cause further delays to election mail that will “disenfranchise voters and put significant financial pressure on election jurisdictions,”

Letter USPS DeJoy by WJZ on Scribd

“Like voting itself, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) is vital to our democracy. Since you assumed the role of Postmaster General, there have been disturbing reports regarding changes at USPS that are causing significant delays in the delivery of mail. Under normal circumstances, delayed mail is a major problem – during a pandemic in the middle of a presidential election, it is catastrophic,” the lawmakers wrote. 

“Instead of taking steps to increase your agency’s ability to deliver for the American people, you are implementing policy changes that make matters worse, and the Postal Service is reportedly considering changes that would increase costs for states at a time when millions of Americans are relying on voting by mail to exercise their right to vote,” they continued.

They said the Postmaster General has a “duty to our democracy to ensure the timely delivery of election mail,” saying millions of Americans’ right to vote depends on it.

In addition to Senators Van Hollen and Cardin, the letter was signed by Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), and the entire Senate Democratic Caucus.

CBS Baltimore Staff