On Wednesday, data from the U.S. Postal Service indicated that thousands of mail-in ballots from around the country were not delivered — particularly in Florida. The Hill reporter John Kruzel obtained the information, showing that about 27% of the mail-in votes for South Florida never reached their destination. These belated ballots could swing the whole election in either direction if they are accepted. Meanwhile, another report by Vice suggests those USPS statistics look much worse than they are and may be misleading.
When the coronavirus pandemic first raised the idea of increased mail-in voting, there were concerns that it would overload the USPS when the election rolled around. Sure enough, according to a report by The Washington Post, almost 7% of absentee ballots nationwide were not processed by Election Day. This could be particularly important in Florida, a swing state where Trump has already been projected to win by major news outlets, though by narrow margins.
🚨BREAKING: New USPS data appears to show a failure to deliver mail ballots from voters across the country on Election Day. U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan will hold a noon hearing over USPS' non-compliance with his order yesterday to rush deliver all remaining mail ballots pic.twitter.com/Zc8J5PEmPf— John Kruzel (@johnkruzel) November 4, 2020
The data obtained by Kruzel measures the number of ballots that were "scanned for delivery" by typical USPS methods by Tuesday. However, according to Vice reporter Aaron W. Gordon, that may not be a reliable way to count the ballots. Gordon claims that he has "spent months learning" how the USPS works on the inside and found that this scanning process is not the end-all-be-all of the delivery chain.
"The USPS has been intentionally making its performance look worse than it is by removing ballots from the normal sorting and delivery process to deliver ballots faster," Gordon explained. He also quoted the USPS's daily filings with a federal court, saying that "the data possesses little to no analytical value and should not be considered a reliable indicator of performance."
Months ago, my bosses and I met and we literally said "it would be good to know exactly how the USPS works come Election Day." That is why I spent months learning. And that is why I am telling you now: there is no good evidence of missing ballots. https://t.co/EhZfti5Vyd— Aaron W. Gordon (@A_W_Gordon) November 4, 2020
Still, this does not completely assuage fears among absentee voters, and some critics are not prepared to take the word of either Gordon or the USPS without further confirmation. That can only come with time, as the states reconcile the number of votes received and counted with the number cast, making sense of the muddled trail left by these mail delivery workarounds.
Additionally, Kruzel continues to raise concerns about the USPS' non-compliance with an order from U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan to sweep all mail-sorting facilities for overlooked ballots. Gordon seemed to dismiss these concerns in his story, but some of his Twitter followers were not prepared to do the same. With the results expected to be delayed for days, the hashtag "Count Every Vote" is trending.