Prime Day won’t affect capacity to handle mail-in ballots, USPS says

  • Some social media users have urged others to boycott Prime Day because of a theory that an influx of packages will affect the US Postal Service’s ability to handle mail-in ballots. 
  • That’s not the case, a USPS spokesperson told Business Insider. 
  • The post office processes packages and first-class mail on different machines — and the USPS is equipped to handle surges in parcel volume — the spokesperson said. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Amazon’s annual Prime Day event kicks off Tuesday, and some social media users have expressed concerns that the surge in packages could affect the US Postal Service’s capacity to handle mail-in ballots, given that the presidential election is just weeks away. 

But the Postal Service says those claims are unfounded. 

The post office processes mail and packages on different equipment, a Postal Service spokesperson told Business Insider via email. In that way, a surge in one doesn’t affect the other. Not to mention, the agency can accommodate occasional upticks in parcel volume. 

“The US Postal Service has the capacity to flex its nationwide processing and delivery network to meet surges in volume of mail and packages,” the spokesperson said. 

Plus, although Amazon relies heavily on the Postal Service to deliver packages — especially to unprofitable areas — the company also uses FedEx, UPS, and its own delivery network. Amazon is its own largest delivery partner, with the Postal Service coming in second place. 

Cost-cutting operational changes and a funding crisis at the Postal Service have stoked fears about the agency’s capacity to deliver mail-in ballots during an election where more voters than ever are expected to cast their ballots by mail.

But agency officials have maintained that the Postal Service will be able to accommodate the steep increase in election-related mail. Mail-in ballots will be a drop in the bucket, as compared with the volume of mail the agency delivers on a regular basis, the post office has said. 

“On any given day, the Postal Service delivers more than 425 million pieces of mail, and our best estimates are that election mail will account for less than 2% of all mail volume from mid-September until Election Day,” USPS executives David Williams and Thomas Marshall wrote in USA Today in August. “Given our available processing capacity, we can easily handle the anticipated increase in election mail due to the COVID-19 pandemic, without impact to on-time performance.”

And although there is no evidence to suggest that mail-in voting gives way to voter fraud — as President Trump and others have contended — absentee voting hasn’t exactly gone off without a hitch so far this election. As many as 100,000 voters in Brooklyn received faulty ballots late last month, but that error had nothing to do with the Postal Service. 

“Delivering Election Mail is our number one priority,” the Postal Service spokesperson told Business Insider. “And we are 100 percent committed throughout the Postal Service to fulfilling our vital role in the nation’s electoral process by securely and timely delivering all ballots pursuant to our long-established processes and procedures.”

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