CBS 58 Investigates: Crisis at USPS

CBS 58 Investigates: Crisis at USPS

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- The U.S. postmaster general said he's postponing changes to the mail until after the election, but this has not calmed fears that the postal service won't be able to handle an expected crush of election mail this November.

Internal United States Postal Service documents published by VICE news show 10 sorting machines are supposed to be cut from Milwaukee's sorting center. Depending on the type of machine, that represents up to a 25 percent cut in the number of machines available. A union official tells CBS 58 Investigates three machines have been removed so far. Now, Congress is getting involved.

"The postmaster said we're not going to have any cuts between now and the election, I want to make sure he's going to stick with that," said Congressman Glenn Grothman (R - Wisconsin).

Grothman sits on the House committee holding hearings on the Postal Service Aug. 24.

"It's not that big of a bump up, it's only people voting and its only people voting early, so I think it should be relatively easy to handle, I'm not worried," said Grothman.

While Grothman believes concerns about the Postal Service's ability to handle election mail are overblown, others are worried.

A source provided pictures to CBS 58 Investigates of pallets of boxes and mail sitting unsorted and undelivered in various post offices the last two weeks. The source said new procedures prevent the mail carriers from getting to that mail like they would have in the past. Milwaukee's Election Commission Director has noticed.

"With the pandemic, we have seen a decline, or slowness, in the time it takes to send mail just within the city of Milwaukee," said Milwaukee Election Commission Director Claire Woodall-Vogg.

She said the city is installing 15 new ballot drop boxes, one at each library. The boxes will allow voters to cast their ballot into a secure box without worrying about whether it makes it through the mail in time.

"It's really important to me we have as many access points in the system for voters to return their ballot without having to rely on USPS," said Woodall-Vogg.

CBS 58 Investigates asked the Postal Service about the delayed mail and sorting machine removal. A spokesperson said the postmaster general's statement still stands, which said sorting machine removal would stop.

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