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13 WTHR Indianapolis | Indianapolis Local News & Weather

Postal service warning Indiana: mailed absentee ballots might not make it in time to be counted

Voters would need to mail a completed ballot at least a week before the election with a firm date of no later than Tuesday, Oct. 27.
Credit: AP
Todd Gallagher prepares mail in ballot envelopes including an I Voted sticker Wednesday, July 29, 2020 in Minneapolis. Absentee ballots are being requested at a record level this year. Nearly 470,000 Minnesotans have requested to vote absentee. That's an amazing 12-times the number requesting mail in voting at this point in 2018. This year's demand obliterates the demand in the 2016 Presidential election, when only 20,000 absentee ballots were requested by July 24. (Glen Stubbe/Star Tribune via AP)

INDIANAPOLIS — The U.S. Postal Service has warned 46 states and the District of Columbia it cannot guarantee all ballots cast by mail for the November election will arrive in time to be counted, The Washington Post reported Friday. 

13News has learned that Indiana is among those states. According to the letter to Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson's office, "we waned to note that, under our reading of Indiana's election laws, certain deadlines for requesting and casting mail-in ballots may be incongruous with the Postal Service's delivery standards. This mismatch creates a risk that ballots requested near the deadline under state law will not be returned by mail in time to be counted under your laws as we understand them."

The USPS goes on to recommend any ballot request be made at least 15 days before election day. The state was advised that once it sent a blank ballot to a voter, it could take a week to be delivered. Similarly, voters would need to mail a completed ballot at least a week before the election with a firm date of no later than Tuesday, Oct. 27.

"As a result, to the extent that the mail is used to transmit ballots to and from voters, there is a significant risk that, at least in certain circumstances, ballots may be requested in a manner that is consistent with your election rules and returned promptly, and yet not be returned in time to be counted."

Essentially, the deadline for requesting an absentee ballot under state law could create a situation where your ballot will not make it to you and back to the clerk's office in time to be counted.

The reason is that at the same time the need for timely delivery of the mail is peaking, service has been curtailed amid cost-cutting and efficiency measures ordered by the Trump-appointed new postmaster general. 

Postmaster Louis DeJoy, a former supply-chain CEO and a major political donor to Trump and other Republicans, has implemented cost-cutting measures to eliminate overtime pay and hold mail until the next day if distribution centers are running late.

You can read the full letter to the state of Indiana here: