MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) – With record numbers of absentee ballots and heighted scrutiny on mail-in voting, Mobile Postmaster Paul Birge insisted Friday that his employees are ready for the election.
Birge said the U.S. Postal Service has prioritized election mail. Sorting machines identify ballots based on size and a unique bar code they carry. Those get moved to the front of the line. He said even mail postmarked on the Monday before Election Day – the deadline for absentee ballots – will arrive by noon the next day in time to be counted.
“Very confident. Very confident,” he said. “We’ve put additional resources into place to ensure that any ballot presented to us, collected by us on that day, we’ll get that postmarked. And we’ll do that every day from now until through the election is finalized.”
Not everyone is as confident. West Mobile resident Alberta Whitfield says she recently paid extra to guarantee next-day delivery of a document to North Carolina to give her daughter the right to stand in for her in court in a land dispute.
She showed off the receipt for $26.35. But she said the document did not arrive until the following day. Whitfield said the experience has soured her on absentee voting.
“I was (planning to vote absentee) until this happened,” she said. “And no, I will not vote by mail. They will see me in person. The same way this happened to me, overnight, think what would happen to me if I sent in a mail-in. There is no way.”
The U.S. Postal Service has come under fire nationally amid allegations that President Donald Trump has tried to sabotage the post office to harm mail balloting. Whitfield alluded to that, questioning the motives of U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy
“With this postmaster general, anything and everything is possible,” she said.
Birge, though, said mail voting is secure and reliable. And he added that the other 98 percent of the mail stream, the non-election mail, is not suffering as a result of the extra attention on ballots.
“The election mail is such a small percentage of what we process on a day-to-day basis. “We’re trusted with billions of pieces of mail (nationwide) a day,” he told FOX10 News.
Birge offered some advice for voters: “To be honest, the most important thing is just to deposit it timely. Know when your deadlines are with your county or supervisor of elections in either your local county or state.”
Birge said all a voter has to do is simply put a first-class stamp on the envelope and drop it in the mail. He cautioned not to try to speed up the process by mailing ballots certified or express delivery.
“It may not get a proper postmark, and it may not actually count,” she said. “So the best thing to do is simply put a little package stamp on it and deposit it in a blue box.”