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USPS warns of election mail delays, but Utah won't be impacted significantly

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Posted at 4:52 PM, Aug 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-14 22:36:22-04

SALT LAKE CITY — The United States Postal Service has sent Utah Lt. Governor Spencer Cox and state elections officials a letter warning of potential delays in delivering mailed-in ballots.

The letter, shared with FOX 13, said the USPS believes there is "sufficient time" for voters to receive and return their ballots. But it did raise some issues with mail-in voter registration.

"However, certain deadlines concerning mail-in ballots, particularly with respect to the registration deadline, may be incongruous with the Postal Service's delivery standards," the letter dated July 31 reads. "This mismatch creates a risk that some ballots will not be returned by mail in time to be counted under your laws as we understand them."

Nationally, a number of other states have received similar letters as they seek to conduct vote-by-mail elections in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Complaints are growing about delays in receiving mail, as the U.S. Postal Service has made operational changes. President Trump has said he opposes additional funding for the U.S. Postal Service, which Democrats in Congress have said is necessary to process an expected surge in mail-in ballots.

State elections officials were not worried.

"It’s not going to cause any real problems for us at all. None of these are new policies or new warnings for us," Utah State Elections Director Justin Lee told FOX 13 on Friday.

He said Utah is already ramping up for November's election. The state has successfully conducted vote-by-mail elections for years now, which allows it to sidestep the problems of other states, and has even expanded options for voters.

"Putting it back in the postal system is not the only way to return your ballot," Lee said. "You can put it in a drop box, turn it in at a polling place. We will have early voting."

Read the letter here: