Audit: 68,000 Pieces of Political Mail Sat Unprocessed in Baltimore Facility Before Primary

    Some 68,000 pieces of first-class political mail from a candidate sat unprocessed at a U.S. Postal Service facility in Baltimore for days before the June 2 primary, according to a recently released audit.

    The mail was reportedly received at the Baltimore Processing and Distribution Center on May 12, according to the audit, conducted by the Postal Service Inspector General’s Office, and wasn’t processed for five days. The 68,000 pieces of mail were classified as “political mail,” meaning it was from a candidate, according to the audit. The unprocessed mail did not include ballots.

    “As soon as Baltimore P&DC management discovered the Political Mail, they immediately processed it for delivery,” the audit, which was prepared by the Postal Service in the leadup to the Nov. 3 general election, reads.

    The audit notes that the foul-up occurred even though the Baltimore P&DC certified that it was clear of political and election mail every day.

    The audit comes after weeks of nationwide uproar due to policy changes at the Postal Service that reportedly caused delays in mail. Some Maryland Democrats charged that Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s shakeups at the Postal Service, which included cutting overtime and removing sorting machines, were part of a deliberate attempt to sabotage mail-in voting.

    DeJoy has since said that he’ll delay any “longstanding operational initiatives” until after the election, and said those initiatives predate his June 15 arrival at the Postal Service.

    “To avoid even the appearance of any impact on election mail, I am suspending these initiatives until after the election is concluded,” DeJoy said in an Aug. 18 statement.

    Despite DeJoy’s apparent reversal, Maryland Democrats have vowed to keep pressure on the Postal Service for fast mail delivery as the November election looms.

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    Bennett Leckrone
    Leckrone is a December 2019 graduate of the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University. He has interned at The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Columbus Dispatch, PennLive.com, The Dayton Daily News and The Troy Daily News. Leckrone is a Report for America corps member.