As financial losses continue to pile up for the U.S. Postal Service, the November election looms nearer.
A couple weeks back, the mail service warned it may not be able to deliver ballots in time in 46 states, including North Dakota.
I met up with a former mail carrier about her concerns, and the fears of her friends still working for the service but unable to talk to journalists.
“The mail just keeps coming so it can really get backed up fast,” shared former rural route Carrier, Susan Beehler.
She says she’s always thought highly of the Postal Service.
“It was run very efficiently, I thought, especially for the amount of service. I mean where can you pay 50 cents and have something go to somebody’s door?” she added.
USPS reported a $4.5 billion loss for the first quarter of the year, and that was before the pandemic really took a hold on the US.
Although just about entirely mail-in, North Dakota Secretary of State Al Jaeger says the state’s June election was a success.
“It was the highest turnout that we’ve had in a June election,” he shared.
President Trump has repeatedly slammed mail-in ballots on social media, saying universal mail-in voting would make the election “the most INACCURATE & FRAUDULENT Election in history…”
Jaeger says he’s not worried about fraud, in our state anyway, where more than 30 counties have been strictly mail-in, for years.
“In North Dakota to receive a ballot, you have to ask for it. And in that process of requesting, you have to provide identification. You also in that request have to affix your signature. They check to see that your identification and everything is fine, and then you are sent a ballot. And on that return envelope, you again have to sign. When it comes into the County Auditor, there is a comparison made with the signature that’s on the application and the signature that’s on that return envelope,” he explained.
Jaeger says, already, at least 120,000 people have requested a mail-in ballot. He says he’s not concerned about the delay at the Post Office as long as people mail them back as soon as they get them.
“Make your application now, so when those ballots are mailed out that time in September, you’ll receive your ballot. You’ll have plenty of time and then return it,” he emphasized.
Beehler says we’ve got it good in North Dakota.
“In North Dakota, I don’t think it’ll be a problem, but in the big cities, I could see where it could be a problem. To make a big change during a time that’s kinda insecure, with the COVID, it doesn’t seem very logical,” she concluded.
You can request a ballot now and they’ll be mailed out starting September 24th. If you are concerned about putting your ballot in the mail and it being counted on time, you can always find a ballot dropbox.
North Dakota Secretary of State Al Jaeger says, come November, voters will have choices about how they wish to cast their vote.
This time around, there will be polling locations open in every county in the state, at least one in those counties that have been using vote-by-mail for years.
Secretary Jaeger says in those small counties, voters won’t see much of a difference.
In bigger counties, like Burleigh, there will be several polling locations open, but likely less than you’re used to. And then, a couple of counties which have always done voting in person, will be opting to use mail-in this November.
“People have options and they can decide for themselves how they would prefer voting. The election isn’t that far off. With all the campaigning that’s been going on… and been going on… there’s probably going to be a lot of people that will be very happy when it’s over,” Jaeger laughed.
He says planning has been underway in every county, including ways to keep voters safe with masks, space, and plastic barriers.
Click here to find more information about what the election will look like in your county, including where polling places are located.