Would you send $500 in cash through the mail?
If not, maybe you won’t want to send your ballot, either. But millions of Americans have already voted by mail in the 2020 presidential election: 48,370,696 to be exact, according to Elect Project at the time of publishing.
With the COVID-19 pandemic still running rampant, many Americans have decided that posting their ballots through the United States Postal Service (USPS) is the safest way to go.
But just how safe is your ballot in the mail?
Fox News decided to test out the USPS.
“As part of a special investigation, senior correspondent Eric Shawn, the I-Unit and others sent 500 envelopes from more than 50 locations throughout the country to test how quickly they traveled between addresses, and to a single destination in New York,” Fox reported. “A little more than two percent failed to reach their destinations, including nine envelopes that have not been delivered more than a month later.”
Fox posted a total of 500 identical envelopes, 100 in each of the New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Chicago, and Dallas metropolitan areas. Eleven never reached their addressed destinations—two were returned to sender and the other nine yet to arrive.
While that’s just 11 out of 500—or 2.2%—that percentage extrapolated to the current number of mail-in ballots—48,370,696—would be a whopping 1,064,155 votes.
Fox’s test included some other interesting information, including how long the envelopes took to arrive.
In New York, envelopes were mailed from locations within almost 70 miles of the destination. Delivery times there ranged from two to five days, and in many cases it was the envelopes traveling the shortest distances that took the longest amount of time to travel.
Some of the mail sent from one New York borough to another took just as long or longer to arrive than the envelopes sent to New York from Los Angeles. The envelopes sent to New York from California ironically traveled the greatest cross-country distance of all of the test ballots, but arrived in the least amount of time of any in that same group.
Fox also talked to a USPS spokesman, who said that the postal service “has allocated additional resources, including, but not limited to, expanded processing procedures, extra transportation, extra delivery and collection trips, and overtime, to ensure that Election Mail reaches its intended destination in a timely manner.”
The spokesperson also said “the use of extraordinary measures beyond the normal course of operations is authorized and expected to be executed by local management between Oct. 26 and Nov. 24 to accelerate the delivery of ballots, when the Postal Service is able to identify the mailpiece as a ballot.”
Those “extraordinary measures” include expedited handling, extra deliveries and special pickups, “which have been used in past elections, to connect blank ballots entered by election officials to voters, or completed ballots returned by voters entered close to or on Election Day to their intended destination,” Fox wrote.
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