10 weeks before election day, postal problems in North Texas and around the nation have members of Congress investigating solutions and a bailout.
Fort Worth Democratic Congressman Marc Veasey visited the mail processing facility in his home town Friday. He said it was clear that managers had cleaned things up before he arrived.
“I’m worried about that because I’ve heard from people that work here that the mail is delayed in some cases up to 30 days, that there are trailers of mail and just like mail laying around everywhere,” he said.
NBC 5 showed Veasey evidence from a Dallas customer that supports the claims of delays.
Commercial Realtor Marcus Wood said he sent four certified mail envelopes with important legal papers to addresses in Dallas, San Antonio and Arlington on July 20 with return receipts requested.
“I expected to get the receipts back very quickly, and be able to track them on the USPS website,” Wood said.
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Returned confirmations showed that the Dallas envelope and one to San Antonio arrived in July.
But another to San Antonio and the Arlington envelope never appeared in USPS online tracking. Return slips did come back about a month after the envelopes were sent, with a notation written in the delivery space, “COVID-19.”
“The cards themselves don't contain enough information to know when it was delivered, where it was delivered, if it was delivered,” Wood said.
Congressman Veasey said certified mail is a crucial function of the US Postal Service.
“I think that anybody would say that this sort of example is just completely unacceptable,” Veasey said.
The Congressman said postal workers across the nation have shared concerns about delays, money-saving staff reductions and dismantled equipment.
“Of course, those changes worry me, particularly because they’re doing them so close to election day,” Veasey said.
Recently appointed US Postmaster Louis DeJoy has been accused of orchestrating the changes to compromise mail ballot delivery on behalf of President Donald Trump, which both of them have denied.
DeJoy appeared Friday before a US Senate committee that is investigating the issues.
The Postmaster testified that ensuring election mail delivery is his “sacred duty.”
He said changes he’s made already will not hurt service, but he’s agreed to delay more adjustments until after the election.
Postal service revenue is down this year amid COVID-19, even as shop at home shipments rise, all while postal workers contend with coronavirus concerns.
The US House is scheduled to meet in a special session Saturday to consider a Postal Service bailout of up to $25 billion. A US Senate plan could provide $10 billion.
“They do deserve some sort of support mechanism,” Veasey said. “We're more reliant on the Post Office, now more than ever.”
Dallas customer Marcus Wood said he needs reliable service.
“They need to be able to do the work and not be cut back,” he said.
After being contacted by NBC5, a spokesperson said Post Office officials are investigating what happened to Marcus Wood’s mail.
*Map locations are approximate, central locations for the city and are not meant to indicate where actual infected people live.