Durbin, Duckworth Convene Call With USPS And Illinois State Board Of Elections Leaders To Discuss Constituent Concerns About Voting By Mail

SPRINGFIELD – U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) today spoke with staff from the Illinois State Board of Elections (SBOE) and the United States Postal Service (USPS) to discuss how constituents in Illinois can safely participate in the upcoming general election amid concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic and USPS policies and practices that may impact mail-in ballot delivery.

On the call, the Senators and SBOE and USPS leaders discussed Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s detrimental changes to the USPS that have led to significant delays in mail delivery. The group also discussed the need for USPS to immediately update its official policy on election mail to ensure that all ballot-related mail is treated as First-Class mail.

“Voting is a fundamental right for every American in this country, regardless of political preference. Unfortunately, under the Trump Administration, our ability to vote safely during a global pandemic is under attack,” said Durbin. “Postmaster General DeJoy and President Trump are running USPS like a company and not an essential service that we depend on for medications, social security checks, and our ballots. We must ensure every Illinoisan has full and safe access to the ballot box this November, whether that’s through vote-by-mail, early voting, or visiting your polling place on Election Day.”

“Recent changes to the nature of postal services by Donald Trump’s Postmaster General violated federal law and undermined our democracy,” Duckworth said. “Veterans, myself included, rely on the Postal Service to deliver prescriptions from the VA and countless more Americans rely on the USPS to deliver their paychecks and other critical items. The USPS serves the American people and must immediately prioritize processing election mail for every citizen to protect the sacred vote of every American. Sabotaging a government agency to prevent senior citizens and Americans with disabilities from safely voting is a direct attack on our democracy and I’ll keep working with Senator Durbin to stop Trump’s efforts to destroy the USPS.”

Earlier this month, Durbin and Duckworth led Democratic members of the Illinois delegation in requesting answers from Postmaster General DeJoy about the delay in letter and package delivery to Illinoisans. Last week, Durbin and Duckworth joined the Senate Democratic caucus in urging the Postmaster General to address the rising costs and delayed delivery times of mailing ballots prior to the November general election. Durbin and Duckworth also joined Senate Democrats last week to demand immediate action to correct the reported delay in prescription medication deliveries to veterans.

According to SBOE, in Illinois, election authorities will begin mailing ballots to voters who have requested mail-in ballots on September 24, and Illinois voters can continue to request a mail-in ballot up to five days before the November general election. Voters must ensure their ballot is postmarked by November 3 and their local election authority must receive their ballot within 14 days after Election Day for it to be counted under Illinois law.

However, on the call, USPS officials recommended that Illinois voters should request ballots as early as possible and no later than October 19, which marks 15 days before the election. USPS officials also recommended that Illinois voters should return their ballots by mail no later than October 27, which marks seven days before the election. According to the USPS and SBOE officials, adhering to the USPS recommendations will give Illinois voters the best chance of ensuring that their ballots are counted.