June 27, 2024

Wyden, Merkley, Colleagues Call on Postal Service to Prepare for Upcoming Election

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Ron Wyden said today he is leading Senate colleagues including U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley in calling on Postmaster General DeJoy and the U.S. Postal Service to share their plans to accommodate high volumes of mail expected in the upcoming 2024 general election in Oregon and nationwide.

“In 2020, the Postal Service overcame a series of challenges, including the onset of a global pandemic, to fulfill this critical mission. Impressively, it delivered 97.9% of ballots within three days, even as a record number of Americans voted by mail,” the senators wrote. “For the 2022 midterm elections, USPS maintained this standard of excellence and delivered 98.96% of ballots within three days.”

In 2023, USPS began a series of mail processing facility reviews to consolidate the operations to regional processing and distributing centers (RP&DC) through the Delivering for America (DFA) plan. That consolidation process could severely affect delivery times, especially in rural communities.

“In February 2024, for example, USPS consolidated Oregon's postal operations around an RP&DC in Portland,” the senators continued. “Despite USPS assurances that the consolidation would minimally affect residents, mail delays have already been reported in Southern Oregon. This area has a higher proportion of seniors and veterans compared to the national average, a group that heavily depends on USPS for medication, bill payments, and ballots, and cannot afford to experience any delays in service.”

“We believe that the Postal Service remains well-equipped to securely deliver mail-in ballots. However, given the service disruptions already resulting from the DFA plan, we fear the same approach adopted by USPS in 2020 and 2022 may not be sufficient to guarantee on-time delivery results,” the senators concluded.

Wyden and Merkley have been advocates for solving mail delays and protecting USPS from disruption. In April, Wyden and Merkley joined colleagues in a letter to DeJoy opposing the USPS consolidations of processing and distribution centers. Merkley also joined a letter that led to DeJoy pausing implementation of all USPS network changes for the rest of this year.In addition, Wyden opposed price hikes and poor service from USPS under DeJoy’s leadership. Wyden and Merkley worked to address this issue for local news outlets with the Deliver for Democracy Act, which ensures that periodicals would be delivered with at least a 95 percent on time delivery rate.

The letter was led by Wyden and U.S. Senator Peter Welch (D-Vt.). In addition to Wyden and Merkley, the letter was signed by U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar  (D-Mn.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Angus King (D-Maine), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.), John Fetterman (D-Pa.), Laphonza Butler (D-Calif.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Patty Murray (D-Wa.), Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) and Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.).

The full text of the letter is here.