Delivery delays began immediately under President Donald Trump's embattled postmaster general.
The U.S. Postal Service saw a marked decline in its on-time delivery rate for first-class mail after Louis DeJoy took over, according to new data analyzed by The Guardian.
“This is a remarkable graphic illustration that reveals the decline of on-time first-class mail from the very first day after Postmaster General DeJoy’s policies were announced and implemented,” said Philip Rubio, a history professor at North Carolina A&T university and a former postal worker, after viewing the data. “Not only do we see the national picture for first-class mail delivery worsening over time after DeJoy’s policies become effective, but we also see locally conditions varying and even emerging for the worse.”
DeJoy, a Republican donor with no prior USPS experience, instituted changes that he claimed were intended to improve efficiency, but they instead caused serious delays, public anger -- and a rebuke from a federal judge.
"Although not necessarily apparent on the surface, at the heart of DeJoy's and the Postal Service's actions is voter disenfranchisement," wrote Judge Stanley Bastian, who temporarily blocked the changes ahead of the election. "This is evident in President Trump's highly partisan words and tweets, the actual impact of the changes on primary elections that resulted in uncounted ballots, and recent attempts and lawsuits by the Republican National Committee and President Trump's campaign to stop the States' efforts to bypass the Postal Service by utilizing ballot drop boxes, as well as the timing of the changes."
“It is easy to conclude that the recent Postal Services’ changes is an intentional effort on the part the current Administration to disrupt and challenge the legitimacy of upcoming local, state, and federal elections,” the judge added.
Some areas in key swing states saw substantial declines in on-time delivery rates for first-class mail, according to The Guardian.
For example, on-time delivery rates dropped in northern Ohio to as low as 63.6 percent in mid-August and 61 percent in Detroit.
For most of 2020, the postal service delivered about 93 percent of first-class mail on time, just short of its goal of about 95 percent.
“Unfortunately, even though on-time performance improved after those changes were put on pause, delivery speed is still well below normal and far below the postal service’s own targets,” said Steve Hutkins, a professor at New York University who runs Save The Post Office blog. “The harms that were done have not yet been undone.”