Removal of mail-sorting machines at Main Post Office could slow election ballots

Aug 20, 2020

The mass of debris behind Buffalo's Main Post Office on William Street is part of five mail-sorting machines removed since the June primary election. The president of the union representing workers he isn't sure an avalanche of mail ballots for the presidential election in November can be sorted without those machines.

"Our concern is whether or not by taking those five machines out of service in Buffalo, whether there will be enough throughput to be able to process the ballots in a timely manner," said American Postal Workers Union President Frank Resetarits, "and that's why the American Postal Workers Union is urging all the general public to vote early, to vote early just to make sure that there is no log jam at the end."

A sample small package sorting system at the U.S. Postal Service.
Credit USPS Inspector General

Resetarits said the postmaster general is also cutting back on overtime used to keep mail moving.

"In the past, the truck would be held over. So if you needed to hold a truck over 10 minutes, 15 minutes, 20 minutes, until the mail was processed to a sequence on the 20 machines we had at the time, then the supervisor had the right to hold the truck over, to get all that mail on, so that that station would have all their mail that day," he said.

Resetarits said, across the nation, the Postal Service is removing 167 sorting machines and his parent American Postal Workers Union isn't sure the remaining machines can handle a national election with an expected massive increase in mail voting.