Press Releases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 9, 2020

Contact:

Ben Voelkel

Aaren Johnson

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sens. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) sent Inspector General of the U.S. Postal Service Tammy Whitcomb a letter Thursday, urging the IG to investigate reports of irregularities involving absentee ballots for the election held on Tuesday, April 7.

“Unfortunately, there have been numerous accounts from the state that USPS failed to fulfill that critical function for some voters. According to an April 8th report by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and the account of a state legislator, three tubs of absentee ballots from Appleton and Oshkosh were discovered in USPS’s Milwaukee processing center after polls closed on Tuesday. In addition, the City of Milwaukee Election Commission has requested that USPS investigate the failure of batches of absentee ballots requested on March 22nd and 23nd to be delivered to voters. Finally, the Village of Fox Point reports that USPS returned to them multiple batches of unsent absentee ballots and they were unable to obtain an explanation from their local post office as to why they were not delivered to the voters who requested them,” the senators wrote. “We are concerned there may be more examples, and request that you promptly open an investigation to determine the cause of these failures, which appear to have disenfranchised many Wisconsin voters.”

Full text of the letter is below and can be found here.

The Honorable Tammy L. Whitcomb

Inspector General

Office of Inspector General U.S. Postal Service

1735 N. Lynn Street

Arlington, VA 22209

Dear Inspector General Whitcomb:

We are writing to urge you to investigate numerous reports of absentee ballots not being delivered in a timely manner for the Wisconsin primary election held on Tuesday, April 7th.  In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, there was an unprecedented increase in requests for absentee ballots, as more and more voters sought to comply with public health guidance and avoid potential risk to their health by avoiding in-person voting.  The United States Postal Service (USPS) in short, had an outsized role in ensuring Wisconsinites could safely exercise the right to vote and participate in our democracy.

Unfortunately, there have been numerous accounts from the state that USPS failed to fulfill that critical function for some voters.  According to an April 8th report by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and the account of a state legislator, three tubs of absentee ballots from Appleton and Oshkosh were discovered in USPS’s Milwaukee processing center after polls closed on Tuesday.1  In addition, the City of Milwaukee Election Commission has requested that USPS investigate the failure of batches of absentee ballots requested on March 22nd and 23nd to be delivered to voters.  Finally, the Village of Fox Point reports that USPS returned to them multiple batches of unsent absentee ballots and they were unable to obtain an explanation from their local post office as to why they were not delivered to the voters who requested them.

We are concerned there may be more examples, and request that you promptly open an investigation to determine the cause of these failures, which appear to have disenfranchised many Wisconsin voters. As the COVID-19 crisis continues and as more voters are likely to request to vote by mail where available, this year’s forthcoming elections will require that USPS’s existing vote-by-mail procedures are strictly and effectively followed. It is critical that you quickly identify what has gone wrong and propose solutions that USPS can swiftly implement.   

Sincerely,

Tammy Baldwin and Ron Johnson

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