The USPS on-time delivery rate for first-class mail fell to 69.8% this week, according to a new court filing

  • On-time delivery of first class mail by the USPS this week fell 6% from earlier weeks.
  • USPS employees were ordered to make late and extra trips.
  • While delivery numbers are being scrutinized leading up to the US election, it's important to note on-time delivery statistics are higher for ballots than for regular first-class mail. 
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The USPS is under increased scrutiny as an election with a large number of mail-in ballots looms. According to a new court filing, the service's on-time deliveries for first class mail on Tuesday was 69.8%, a 6% decrease from earlier weeks, Bloomberg reported.

US District Judge Emmet Sullivan ruled in favor of an emergency request to increase service to allow more on-time deliveries.

"USPS personnel are instructed to perform late and extra trips to the maximum extent necessary to increase on-time mail deliveries, particularly for election mail," Judge Sullivan said, ordering Postmaster General Louis DeJoy to expand services less than a week before the election.

Though the timely delivery of ballots is key leading up to the election, the 69.8% statistic applies to all first-class mail. Ballots have an inbound on-time delivery rate of 95.1%, and an outbound rate of 89%.

The Supreme Court earlier this week delivered a decision to uphold an appeal that ballots must arrive before polls close in Wisconsin, a key state. Justice Brett Kavanaugh's opinion included a controversial argument that states should not accept ballots that arrive after polls close, even if they were mailed on time, and that results should be delivered "on election night, or as soon as possible thereafter." As Grace Panetta reported, this is controversial because more than half of all voters have voted by mail, and the count could take several days.

Voters who have not yet mailed in ballots should note that many election officials have said it is too late to guarantee a timely delivery by election day. Instead, voters should hand deliver them or take them to a ballot drop box.

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