USPS in ‘emergency’ mode to deliver ballots from states hit by Sandy

Letter carrier Dawn Greco wades in the water to deliver the mail after superstorm Sandy. Letter carrier Dawn Greco wades in the water to deliver the mail after superstorm Sandy. Alex Brandon/AP

The U.S. Postal Service is invoking “emergency operation plans” to ensure every absentee ballot is delivered on time for the election Tuesday, a spokeswoman has confirmed.

“We regularly deliver mail in adverse conditions and, therefore, where it’s safe to do so, USPS will continue to deliver the mail in areas impacted by Hurricane Sandy,” the agency said in a statement.

Spokeswoman Darlene Reid-DeMeo told Government Executive that power outages have caused USPS to suspend service in much of New Jersey, New York City, Long Island, Staten Island, parts of Connecticut, as well as in Richmond, Va., and parts of northern Ohio, where the presidential election is closely contested. Mail from these areas is being rerouted to open processing plants.

In Philadelphia, which plays a critical role in the vote totals in swing state Pennsylvania, some post offices are without power but mail is being processed and delivered as usual, Reid-DeMeo said. Gov. Tom Corbett has extended the deadline to submit absentee ballots to Monday at 5 p.m.

Reid-DeMeo added that every precaution was taken in to ensure no mail was left behind in the flood in USPS’ blue drop boxes. They were cleared Monday, before the brunt of  Sandy hit, and again on Tuesday at noon, when a special pickup was added due to the impending storm.

“If a box was underwater,” Reid DeMeo said, “a customer would have to wade through the water to put their mail in the box, which is not likely.”

As soon as it is safe to do so, the Postal Service will send out mail collectors to ensure there is no mail remaining in the boxes. USPS will place any damaged mail in a plastic bag and return it to the sender. If the return address cannot be read, the agency will be sent to the Mail Recovery Center in Atlanta, where USPS staff will attempt to determine to whom the mail belongs and return it. 

The Postal Service said it is making every effort to deliver absentee ballots on time.

The agency’s emergency plans will “expedite recovery efforts including making sure there is timely delivery of mailed ballots,” USPS said in a statement. “We’re continuing to monitor the situation and will make adjustments to our delivery operations as necessary.”
Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

    View
  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

    View
  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    View
  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

    View
  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

    View
  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

    View
  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.

    View

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.