Lawmakers seek answers as USPS warns ballots might not arrive in time for Election Day
NH among states warned that deadlines aren't generous enough
MANCHESTER, N.H. -
The U.S. Postal Service has warned that mail-in ballots in New Hampshire might not arrive in time to be counted in the November election, and lawmakers now want to know why.
The warning came after the agency recently shut down some mail sorting machines across the country, including in Manchester. New Hampshire's congressional delegation said it's time for the postmaster general to answer questions.
New Hampshire election officials recommend making a request for a mail-in ballot at least seven days before Election Day. The postal service said that rule creates a risk that all ballots requested near the deadline will not be returned by mail in time to be counted.
According to the office of the New Hampshire Secretary of State 50,000 requests for mail-in ballots have been made for the September primary. Compared to the 2016 and 2018 primaries where about 9,000 absentee ballots were casts and counted for each election.
The postmaster general is agreeing to testify during a hearing before the U.S. House next week, something New Hampshire U.S. Reps. Annie Kuster and Chris Pappas said they support.
U.S. Sens. Maggie Hassan and Jeanne Shaheen have called for a similar hearing in the Senate. Shaheen asked Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Monday to bring the Senate back into session to deal with the issue.
"We need to pass legislation to ensure that this new postmaster general is not able to continue to cut back service in the post office," Shaheen said. "It's the only federal agency that's mentioned in the Constitution. We have a commitment to ensure that the postal service works for all Americans."
Ballots must be received by the New Hampshire town or city clerk by 5 p.m. on Election Day.