The U.S. Constitution provides for nearly universal adult access to the ballot. The pandemic is making that difficult. Most voting precincts had historically depended upon retirees to administer the system, many have to shutdown as this high-risk population is reluctant to participate this year.
Younger people need to step up. If you want to volunteer, contact your local elections board. Search on your local government name plus elections. See also this useful information from the National Conference on State Legislatures.
State and local governments learned they cannot rely on the US Postal Service for a solution. They hoped to expand early voting by absentee ballots or voting by mail. For this to work, the U.S. Post Office would need to provide high quality service equally to all citizens. In fact, it does not. It has been under-funded for many years and has recently lost many workers due to the pandemic. The new Postmaster-General appointed in May 2020 has implemented changes meant to improve USPS fiscal sustainability that further affect USPS capacity to deliver the mail. The USPS alerted 46 states that they could not count on the USPS to deliver ballots on time. The same is true for all other items delivered by the USPS, including medicine.
Find out how your area has been affected by changes in USPS performance. Most parts of the U.S. have seen the quality of postal services decline this year. The worst hit areas are New York city and the Triboro area, and Detroit. Very few areas saw improvements. Some of those that did include North & South Dakota, Indiana, and Salt Lake City. Check out the summary of USPS data in the table at the bottom of this page below.
Want to learn more?
Check out our short course on American Democracy: Liberal and Republican.
For some pros and cons of voting by mail, see our earlier blog, Voting During the Pandemic.
The right of citizens to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude, nor on account of sex, failure to pay any poll tax or other tax, so long as they are 18 years or older. (U.S. Constitution, 15th Amendment, 19th Amendment, 24th Amendment, and 26th Amendment.)
Photo credit: U.S. Air Force, Tech. Sgt. Shanda L. De Anda
USPS Quarterly Performance for Two-Day, First Class Mail, Percent Arriving On-Time
|Number of Zip-codes||FY2019 Q3||FY2020 Q3||Change|
|Annual Targets (% On-Time)||96.5||96.5||0|
|Actual Outcomes (% On-Time)||93.9||92.4||-1.5|
|CAPITAL METRO AREA|
|Greater South Carolina||8||95||95.1||0.1|
|Western New York||10||96.2||95.2||-1|
|GREAT LAKES AREA|
|Northern New England||29||95.3||94||-1.3|
|Northern New Jersey||11||92.3||87.1||-5.2|
|Hawkeye (Mainly Iowa)||25||95.1||95.9||0.8|
|Salt Lake City||13||95.2||96||0.8|