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‘A fiasco is clearly foreseeable’: USPS watchdog probe found 1 million primary ballots likely delivered too late to count

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FILE PHOTO: A poll worker places a mail in ballot into a voting box as voters drop off their ballot in the U.S. presidential primary election in San Diego, California, United States June 7, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) called the findings “more powerful proof that resources and reform are vital right away to prevent serious election mail delays and voting suppression.”

The U.S. Postal Service’s internal watchdog issued in a report this week detailing a number of concerns about how prepared the service is for the upcoming November elections in which a record number of Americans are expected to vote by mail, with one Democratic lawmaker seizing the findings as further evidence of the need for reforms “to prevent serious election mail delays and voting suppression.”

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The audit from the USPS Office of the Inspector General (OIG) was released Monday and probed the service’s “readiness for timely processing of election and political mail.” Among the findings were that 1.6 million pieces of election mail weren’t delivered on time from April through June, and over 1 million primary ballots were at “high risk” of not getting back to election boards on time to be counted because they were sent out within seven days of an election.

“The Postal Service plays a vital role in the American democratic process and this role continues to grow as the volume of election and political mail increases,” the OIG said.

Reviewed by the watchdog were seven processing and distribution centers (P&DCs)—Santa Clarita, California; Portland; Indianapolis; Baltimore; Charleston, South Carolina; Brooklyn, and Oklahoma City—that were handling materials for primary elections held in May and June 2020.

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The audit was conducted before Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, a Trump campaign megadonor, took charge of the service in June and began a rollout of sweeping changes that prompted congressional hearings, demands for DeJoy’s ouster, and nationwide rallies to #SaveThePostOffice.

A number of concerns were outlined in the watchdog’s report: ballots mailed without barcode mail tracking technology; ballot mail piece designs that result in improper processing; election and political mail likely to be mailed too close to the election, resulting in insufficient time for the Postal Service to process and deliver the mailpieces; postmark requirements for ballots; and voter addresses that are out of date.

“An analysis of data determined the total number of identifiable election and political mail mailpieces not delivered on time from April 2020 through June 2020 for the seven P&DCs was about 1.6 million (8 percent) of 20.2 million mailpieces,” the report said.

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Actions by election officials were also blamed for problems with processing election materials.

“According to Postal Service management,” the report said, “during the primary election season, election boards mailed over 1 million ballots to voters within seven days of an election. This put these ballots at high risk by not allowing sufficient time for delivery to voters and their subsequent delivery back to the election boards.”

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Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), sharing Wednesday the Washington Post‘s reporting on IG report, called the findings “more powerful proof that resources and reform are vital right away to prevent serious election mail delays and voting suppression.”

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“Plain fact and our pleas for action align with findings of this report,” tweeted Blumenthal, warning that “a fiasco is clearly foreseeable.”


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2020 Election

Outrage against Dianne Feinstein as potential Judiciary chair comes out against Senate reform

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Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) received harsh criticism on Monday after coming out against Senate reform of the filibuster.

“I don't believe in doing that. I think the filibuster serves a purpose," Feinstein argued.

"It is not often used, it's often less used now than when I first came, and I think it's part of the Senate that differentiates itself," Feinstein falsely claimed.

https://twitter.com/sahilkapur/status/1308169580658012160

Feinstein is in line to chair the Senate Judiciary Committee if Democrats regain the Senate, despite never attending law school or having ever tried a case.

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2020 Election

Lindsey Graham announces embattled Sen. Joni Ernst will vote for whomever Trump nominates to replace RBG

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The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday announced that GOP members of the body would be united in voting for whomever President Donald Trump nominates to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the U.S. Supreme Court.

“The nominee’s going to be supported by every Republican in the Judiciary Committee," Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said, as reported by The Washington Post's Aaron Blake.

https://twitter.com/AaronBlake/status/1308223330357518336

If Graham is correct, that would mean that Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) would be backing the nomination, despite trailing Democratic challenger Theresa Greenfield.

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2020 Election

A Never-Trump Republican changed her mind — then crumbled when she tried to explain why

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In a recent op-ed for the Washington Post, Republican Danielle Pletka declared that despite the fact that she refused to vote for Donald Trump in 2016, she now feels compelled to support him in 2020. The piece quickly caught fire online, inspiring ridicule and sympathy from differing corners and triggering a surprising amount of discussion.

In one sense, it’s hard to see what the big deal was. The Post publishes opinion pieces in support of Trump frequently, and this one was not particularly special. Pletka herself is not a particularly notable figure. Like many op-eds, it was sloppy and unpersuasive, making huge leaps of reasoning and glossing over critical points in the argument. It didn’t take seriously any compelling counterarguments. It was, in other words, a mere display of partisan loyalty from a Republican who would prefer to be inside the tent than outside of it.

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