Press Release: USPS Ballot Debacle

May 16, 2024

Oregon Republican Party has learned that some branches of the U.S. Postal Service have been  holding mailed ballots and not delivering them to county elections offices as addressed. An issue became apparent when election officials around the state began to question extremely  low voter turnout for the May 21 primary election. Postmasters confirmed that ballots were  being held for lack of clear direction about precise costs to bill the state for business mail  postage on postage-paid ballot return envelopes mandated by Democrat-sponsored legislation. 

The number of ballots being held is unknown. The number of post office branches holding  ballots is unknown. The amount of time these ballots have been held is unknown. Most  importantly, the chain of custody for these undelivered ballots is unknown. Where were they  held, and who had access to them? Is holding business mail standard operating practice for  USPS? If not, why were these ballots treated differently? When will they be delivered? 

Rumors circulate about election officials voicing concern over “optics” if USPS dumps all the  held ballots at their offices at once. Just days before the primary election date, voters have lost  confidence in the security of using USPS to deliver their ballots in a secure and timely  manner. Some who had planned to mail their ballots now are faced with the need to transport ballots to a local elections office rather than send them by mail. Doubtless some will throw up  their hands and say, ‘Why bother?’ This breach of trust undermines public confidence in  elections in general, and in the use of mail-in voting in particular. 

In a time when trust in our election system is at historic lows, it is imperative that the  Secretary of State immediately issue a complete and transparent statement about this issue to  the public. How many ballots were held and what chain of custody was observed to secure the ballots of Oregon citizens? What caused this delay in delivery of ballots? When and how will  this issue be corrected? How do Oregon voters regain confidence in the USPS to handle their  ballots securely? How will this election vulnerability be addressed to prevent this from  happening in the November election? Oregon citizens deserve honesty and transparency from  the Secretary of State today. 

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