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Davis: Increased Postal Funding Will Not Solve Our Election Problems

WASHINGTON – Committee on House Administration Ranking Member Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) today issued this statement ahead of tomorrow’s vote on increasing funding for the United States Postal Service (USPS).

“While I have been, and continue to be, supportive of the $25 billion in additional funding for the Postal Service, this isn’t going to solve election administration problems this November,” said Davis. “At least 18 states still have election policies incompatible with the Postal Service’s delivery standards, which significantly increases the risk of disenfranchising voters because their ballot could not arrive on time even if they follow all the rules. We saw hundreds of thousands of ballots during recent primaries go uncounted. The Postal Service warned states of these issues earlier this year, but unrealistic ballot request and return policies continue to be one of the biggest impediments to ensuring every vote is counted. Until states address these issues and others, I’m afraid the problems we saw in the primary are only going to persist and likely increase in November.”

These are real election administration issues that Democrats are not addressing:

1. At least 18 states have ballot request and return deadlines incompatible with USPS delivery standards. Despite outreach to states by the Postal Service, they recently wrote the committee concerning these issues. The letter, in part, states:

“The Postal Service is not involved in and does not control the design of the state’s election systems, including ballot request and return deadlines. However, we are concerned that many states have designed their election systems without considering the ordinary timeframes required by the Postal Service to process and deliver mail. In many instances, based upon our reading of the relevant state laws, ballot request and return deadlines appear to be incompatible with the Postal Service’s delivery standards mentioned above. Where such compatibility exists and 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 sent to voters in a manner that is consistent with a state’s election rules and returned promptly by voters, and yet not received by election officials in time to be counted.”

2. 2020 primaries across the country saw voters disenfranchised by mail-in voting. In California, a state that is accustomed to processing millions of ballots, more than 102,000 were rejected in this year’s primary, over 25,000 of the rejected ballots had signature issues. In Wisconsin, more than 20,000 ballots were rejected, and in Michigan another 10,000. In one New York City congressional Democrat primary, 12,000 ballots alone were invalidated. More than 28 million mail-in ballots went missing in the last four elections according to data collected from the Election Assistance Commission (EAC). This amounts to one in five absentee ballots in states which do not primarily conduct elections by mail.

3. Vote-by-mail takes significant time and resources to administer correctly. Earlier this year, 10 oversight letters to localities where voters are most likely to face significant hurdles to voting this fall based on issues reported in recent primaries. States who have tried to significantly increase vote-by-mail in a matter of weeks or months have struggled. Vote-by-mail requires significant technology and staff upgrades, managing resources split between in-person and mail voting, adjusted ballot return deadlines, pre-paid postage, and realistic ballot processing The National Association of Presort Mailers has issued warnings about the capacity of its members to expand their printing and mailing preparations for the November election. Additionally, vote-by-mail does not alleviate the need for in-person voting locations and poll workers.

4. 59% of Americans still prefer to vote in person. State and local election officials need help ensuring people who want to vote in person, can do so safely. Davis recently introduced the EASE Act to provide funding to help states allow people to safely vote in person.

5. Inaccurate voter registration lists invite fraud. Many states have simply ignored or have not had the resources to comply with requirements under the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) to maintain accurate voter registration lists. For example, Los Angeles County was court ordered to remove 1.5 million inactive voters from its registration lists. If states mandate that election officials must mail every registered voter a live ballot, they could be sending out more live ballots than actual registered voters, which could lead to fraudulent ballots being returned. The EASE Act also helps states clean and update their voter rolls.

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