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Postmaster discusses postal service’s increased role in general election

Published: Oct. 21, 2020 at 11:33 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - With millions across the U.S. voting early by mail, the general election is filling up mailboxes, far more than in any prior election.

“What’s going on right now with COVID and everything else, I think it’s a lot more convenient for people to vote by mail,” said Wichita voter Dara Walker.

This has the U.S. Postal Service receiving more attention for its role in the voting process.

“Us as postal employees, we don’t decide how the election is going to come out. We’re here to deliver for the American public and we’re going to ensure that it’s done securely and timely,” USPS Wichita Postmaster Ryon Knopik said.

Knopik said the U.S. Postal Service has been preparing for the extra volume with extra transportation pick-ups from blue boxes and expedited handling.

“We’re going to ramp that up next week, just to make sure that we get everything delivered to the election office,” he said.

The postal service said it’s important to closely follow the instructions on your ballot as laid out by the state. In Kansas, mail-in ballots can be postmarked on Election Day (Nov. 3) and counted if the election office receives them by Friday, Nov. 6. Knopik said USPS estimates that election mail will account for about two percent of the total mail volume for the timespan from mid-September to Election Day.

“On a general day, the postal service processes over 400 million pieces of mail. If every American voted by mail, that would be about 330 million pieces of mail. That’s about three-quarters of what we process every single day,” Knopik said.

To ensure mail-in ballots arrive on time, Kansas Secretary of State Scott Schwab said voters can cut out the middle man of the postal service by dropping mail-in ballots off at ballot drop boxes, or by taking them to local election offices or their designated polling places.

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