UPS and FedEx both warned Americans this week that the two delivery services absolutely cannot deliver mail-in votes, in case any were worried whether the United States Postal Service would be able to get their ballots in on time.
As Reuters reported, the USPS has warned that it may not be equipped to handle the expected surge in mail-in ballots, warning of “significant” delays. That means that some Americans may be concerned that their absentee or mail-in ballot could possibly not make it to where it needs to go in time to be counted for the election.
One Twitter user, author and radio host David Rothkopf, floated the idea of using commercial carriers to deliver those ballots.
So…UPS…Fedex…big opportunity here. Just offer to deliver any election ballot for free…or honor the postage on it…and get it there by Election Day. You'll overnight become the most beloved and respected organization in America. Go on…it's the right thing to do.
— David Rothkopf (@djrothkopf) August 14, 2020
However, voters thinking of using UPS or FedEx, or another for-profit delivery company, will find that they’re out of luck, the two leading carriers in the industry say.
The issue is the postmark — the machine-generated stamp on the envelope carrying a ballot that the post office applies. For-profit delivery services don’t use those, and as such, that means that an item that requires a postmark can’t be sent via a private carrier.
“State ballots must be postmarked to be considered valid and only the USPS has lawful postmarking status. Therefore UPS, FedEx and other private parties cannot technically be involved in shipping ballots,” UPS said in a statement.
Similarly, FedEx warned that it does not, as a matter of course, transport ballots.
“FedEx does accept individual ballots, and we advise that customers planning to return their ballots via FedEx should closely review their state’s guidelines on absentee voting and deadlines for ballots or related election documents,” the company said.
Indeed, in most jurisdictions, it’s the law that private delivery companies can’t handle regular mail (such as documents or, more specifically, ballots). In some states, however, there may be exceptions, such as for things deemed “extremely urgent” by the local laws, or for deliveries on the day of and afternoon prior to election day.
Besides legalities, there are other problems at play here as well. For example, while the USPS sends a truck to every mail-collection box, every day, six days per week, FedEx and UPS only stop by when a customer has pre-arranged pickup. Further, while the USPS covers every last address in the United States, many commercial carriers simply do not have coverage in some rural areas.
As previously reported by The Inquisitr, President Trump has steadfastly opposed expanding voting by mail, stating that the process would open up the election to fraud.