North Dakota was one of 46 states warned by the United States Postal Service about their concerns of mail-in voting timeframe. The letter was received on July 31st according to records. It was first reported by KFGO’s Paul Jurgens.
The letter sent by the USPS lays out concerns about the turnaround of ballots. “Under our reading of your state’s election laws, as in effect on July 27, 2020, certain state-law requirements and deadlines appear incompatible with the Postal Service’s delivery standards and the recommended timeframe noted above. As a result, to the extent that the mail is used to transmit ballots to and from voters, there is significant risk that, at least in certain circumstances, ballots may be requested in a matter that is consistent with your election rules and returned promptly, and yet not be returned in time to be counted.”
That is a pretty dire concern from the USPS. Rather than doing what they can to alleviate the burden on the Postal Service, North Dakota’s Republican delegation supports President Trump’s attack on the Postal Service. Last week, Trump admitted he was sabotaging the Postal Service because of vote-by-mail during a public health pandemic. Their blind support is without reason and shameful. It harms their constituents.
To his credit, North Dakota’s Republican Secretary of State Al Jaeger is urging North Dakotans to continue to plan to vote by mail if they wish. Jaeger has been an advocate for voting by mail. According to KFGO News, “Jaeger is urging North Dakotans who plan to vote by mail to send back their filled-out ballots as soon as possible. Jaeger says that while North Dakota does not require ballots to arrive by election day, they must still be postmarked on, or before election day.”
The problem would lie with the voters who choose to wait to mailing back their ballot too close to election day. The USPS is warning that it may not meet the timeframe of getting ballots sent in late to get them delivered by the time the state canvassing board meets. That board meets the first Monday following the election to finalize the results.
Here is the bottom line. If you plan to vote by mail, you need to plan ahead. The USPS can safely and securely deliver your ballot. They’ve proven that for decades. This time, the turnaround will be different. It is different because the President is purposefully sabotaging the entire Postal Service to the cheers of Kelly Armstrong, Kevin Cramer, and John Hoeven.
If you’d like to vote in person for the general election, you’ll likely have the opportunity. Today, the County Auditors Association announced that all of North Dakota’s 53 counties plan to have in-person voting options. If you choose to vote in person, you still will need to plan ahead. At the moment, it is unclear how many polling places will be available in each county.
Voting will look different this year. We’re still in a pandemic. It is frustrating that instead of making sure there are multiple options to allow people to exercise their right to vote, politicians are planting seeds of doubt in the entire process and it’s outcome. It is shameful. Kudos to Al Jaeger – in this instance – for providing confidence the system will work if people plan ahead.
For information on how to vote in North Dakota including how to apply for a mail-in ballot or to find your polling location, go to Vote.ND.Gov. NDx will continue to provide updates on polling locations and early voting opportunities. Check back as we move closer to the election.
You can view the USPS letter sent to North Dakota below.
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