Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, in Mondays testimony on Capitol Hill, urged voters wishing to cast their votes by mail to request and submit ballots early ahead of the Nov. 3 election as a “commonsense best practice” that will ensure they reach officials on time and are counted.
DeJoy, who testified before the House Oversight Committee on U.S. Postal Service (USPS) operations and the upcoming elections, said that voters should request their ballots at least 15 days ahead of Election Day. He said his advice is meant to ensure that voters have enough time to receive their ballot, complete it, and mail it back to election officials on time.
“I encourage all Americans who choose to vote by mail to request their ballots early and to vote early as a commonsense best practice,” he told the panel. He also said that due to an expected surge in mail-in ballots because of the CCP virus pandemic, voters should mail back their completed ballots at least seven days ahead of the election.
He stressed, however, that his urging voters not to wait until the last minute “should in no way be misconstrued to imply that we lack confidence in our ability to deliver those ballots.”
“We can, and will, handle the volume of Election Mail we receive, he told the panel.
“The Postal Service is fully capable and committed to delivering the nations ballots securely and on time,” DeJoy said, adding, “this sacred duty is my number one priority between now and Election Day.”
DeJoys comments came as the oversight panel opened a hearing on operational changes at the Postal Service that have drawn complaints of mail delays nationwide.
Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.) told DeJoy at the hearing that changes imposed by DeJoy this summer have threatened the reliability of mail service in his state and across the country.
“What the heck are you doing?” Lynch asked DeJoy at the sometimes contentious hearing. Either through “gross incompetence” or “on purpose,” DeJoy is ”deliberately dismantling this once-proud institution,” Lynch claimed.
DeJoy denied any wrongdoing and accused Lynch and other Democrats of spreading misinformation. He also said that he wished to clarify certain “inaccuracies about my actions” that he said were perpetuated by some media and elected officials as part of a “false narrative to the American people.”
“First, I did not direct the removal of blue collection boxes or the removal of mail processing equipment. Second, I did not direct a cutback on hours at any of our post offices. And finally, I did not direct the elimination or any cutback in overtime,” DeJoy said, adding that he did “suspend these practices to remove any perceptions about our commitment to delivering the nations election mail.”
He said that the actions that he did direct at the USPS were aimed at removing operational inefficiencies, among other aims, so as to deliver an improved level of service.