BALTIMORE (AP) — About 68,000 pieces of political mail were delayed for five days upon arriving at a Baltimore mail processing facility ahead of Maryland’s June primary, according to a U.S. Postal Service audit.
The mail, described as campaign materials from a candidate, was sent May 12 and “sat unprocessed” for nearly a week before management discovered it, the audit’s findings, published Monday, show.
Brooklyn, New York; Charleston, W.Va.; Indianapolis; Oklahoma City; Portland, Ore.; and Santa Clarita, Calif., were also included in the Postal Service inspector general’s national audit. The audit specified political mail as “any mailpiece created by a registered political candidate, a campaign committee or a committee of a political party for political campaign purposes.”
Auditors found that no ballots were among the delayed mail in Baltimore, though 200 ballots were found untouched in Oklahoma City and several facilities did not properly verify that all political mail had been processed in the weeks before the primaries.
The audit was intended to evaluate the Postal Service’s readiness ahead of the November general election, the inspector general said in a statement Monday.
Postal Service leaders have faced criticism over delays and cutbacks just as millions of Americans prepare to vote by mail to avoid polling places during the coronavirus pandemic. The Postal Service has warned states, including Maryland, that it could not guarantee all ballots cast by mail would arrive in time to be counted, even if mailed by deadlines.
Freda Sauter, a regional spokeswoman for the Postal Service, said in an email to The Baltimore Sun that the agency was committed to delivering election mail in a timely manner this fall.