Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Postal Service Cuts Could !nterfere With Elections, Delay Vote By Mail Ballots

With Con­gress debat­ing plans to shut down post offices and pos­si­bly elim­i­nate Sat­ur­day mail deliv­ery, some elec­tion offi­cials are wor­ried that bring­ing the U.S. Postal Ser­vice out of the red could harm elec­tion pro­ce­dures — per­haps even in time for the Novem­ber 2012 pres­i­den­tial election.

In Novem­ber the Postal Ser­vice announced it lost $5.1 bil­lion in fis­cal 2011, not includ­ing the man­dated $5.5 bil­lion owed to the fed­eral gov­ern­ment to pre­fund retiree health ben­e­fit payments. For the ser­vice to return to prof­itabil­ity, it must cut $20 bil­lion by 2015.

Sen­ate leg­is­la­tion would pro­tect Sat­ur­day ser­vice for the next two years, but a House bill would per­mit a reduc­tion to five-day-per-week mail deliv­ery six months after enact­ment. The Postal Ser­vice has said it intends to cut Sat­ur­day ser­vice unless Con­gress requires it to continue.

Steve Mon­teith, the Postal Service’s man­ager of trans­ac­tion cor­re­spon­dence, said tak­ing away Sat­ur­day deliv­ery or shut­ting post office doors could force elec­tion offi­cials to send bal­lots out a day ear­lier to make sure they arrive on time.

Cal­i­for­nia Repub­li­can Rep. Dar­rell Issa, who chairs the House Over­sight and Gov­ern­ment Reform Com­mit­tee, co-sponsored the House bill. The service’s finan­cial losses, he said, put elec­tions at risk.

Fun­da­men­tal reforms are needed to pro­tect the finan­cial via­bil­ity of the United States Postal Ser­vice, includ­ing its ser­vices that are inte­gral to vot­ing,” Issa said.

Full Arti­cle: The Daily Caller.

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