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The viral claim USPS didn’t deliver 300,000 ballots doesn’t stand up

Widespread reports of hundreds of thousands of non-delivered ballots aren't true.


Mikael Thalen


Posted on Nov 4, 2020

A claim that has gone viral online suggests that the United States Postal Service (USPS) failed to deliver mail-in ballots all across the country on Election Day. But it appears that the allegation is untrue.

On Wednesday, John Kruzel, a reporter for The Hill, pointed to data that seemingly showed a significant number of mail-in ballots still in transit.

“New USPS data appears to show a failure to deliver mail ballots from voters across the country on Election Day,” Kruzel tweeted. “U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan will hold a noon hearing over USPS’ non-compliance with his order yesterday to rush deliver all remaining mail ballots.”


Kruzel further noted that the data revealed that around 300,000 ballots “lacked a delivery scan” from USPS, supposedly rendering them invalid and uncountable.

“Dozens of states had Election Day cutoffs for mail ballot arrival, meaning ballots that were not delivered by close of polls last night will be rejected,” Kruzel added.

The tweet thread has since garnered well over 30,000 shares from Americans convinced that their vote may have been cast in vain.

But it looks like the concern is unfounded and Kruzel’s claims untrue.

As reported by Vice on Tuesday, the USPS has repeatedly stated that its delivery statistics would appear worse on Election Day as part of an effort to speed up the delivery process.

“This lacks critical context,” Vice reporter Aaron Gordon said of the claim. “The USPS has been purposefully pulling ballots out of the mail stream to deliver them quicker, bypassing the normal process that would result in a delivery scan. So the numbers look worse in order for ballots to be delivered quicker.”

In short, the USPS has expedited its sorting and delivery process for ballots in order to get ballots delivered quicker, bypassing delivery scans that it argues “possesses little to no analytical value and should not be considered a reliable indicator of performance.”

Although Kruzel is correct in noting that U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan had ordered sweeps of sorting facilities in order to ensure that all ballots were delivered—and that the USPS had missed a specific deadline—the agency has since certified under oath that sweeps were conducted at every facility yesterday.

In total, only 13 undelivered ballots were discovered, a far cry from the hundreds of thousands alleged by Kruzel. The 13 ballots were also successfully delivered by USPS shortly after.

While Kruzel has since made some corrections in his tweet thread, Twitter has thus far failed to place any notices pointing out the inaccuracies in his initial tweet.

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*First Published: Nov 4, 2020, 11:39 am CST