HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - As millions of Americans plan to vote by mail this year, including the entire state of Hawaii, the U.S. Postal Service has come under fire for cost-cutting plans that critics say are triggering significant delays and have the potential to leave ballots uncounted.
Postmaster General Louis DeJoy says he’s reducing the number of machines to streamline the USPS and to cut expenses. Part of the issue is that the USPS is dismantling equipment across the country.
That reportedly includes three Delivery Bar Code Sorters in the islands.
USPS said it has stopped the removal of those sorting machines after an uproar of criticism.
But the local USPS spokesman has declined to say if the machines in Hawaii have been removed or if they are still operational.
Hawaii News Now has submitted a Freedom of Information Act request and is investigating. HNN also asked for access to the mail room to see the equipment but was denied.
In a statement USPS said in part:
“The Postal Service has more than enough capacity, including collection boxes and processing equipment, to handle all election mail this year, which is predicted to amount to less than 2% of total mail volume from mid-September to Election Day.”
The potential for mail-in voting delays isn’t the only thing that has onlookers concerns.
Hawaii’s entire Congressional delegation released a statement last week demanding the Postmaster General stop service delays and fully support the Postal Service.
“These service delays have the potential of affecting the 120,000 veterans in Hawaii, especially the 50,000 who receive their medication through the mail from the Veteran’s Health Administration," the delegation said.
"Hawaii’s small business owners, who have already been impacted by COVID-19 are now having to work around delayed supplies or deal with late deliveries to customers.”