WA reps ‘demand answers’ from USPS over mail backlog

Aug 2, 2022, 12:47 PM | Updated: Aug 3, 2022, 9:52 am
mail ballot usps...
(Photo by VALERIE MACON/AFP via Getty Images)
(Photo by VALERIE MACON/AFP via Getty Images)

The last day to return your ballot for the 2022 Washington state primary is August 2, but with postal delays in Whatcom County, some are worried about their ballot getting counted in time for the election.

Pictures have come up on social media of hundreds of packages and boxes full of mail waiting to be delivered at the Ferndale post office.

Two U.S. representatives from Washington, Suzan DelBene and Rick Larsen, have demanded that the USPS resolve the issue and make sure ballots get where they need to go.

A guide to finding the closest ballot box for WA’s midterm primary

According to a news release from the congresspeople, they have received over 170 complaints about the facility about important pieces of mail getting delayed, from packages containing important medications, delayed passports, and bill notices.

“For months, we have also heard ongoing complaints about mail delivery in other parts of Whatcom County, Snohomish County, and Island County,” the statement reads. “More recently, many constituents in Everett have reported not receiving daily mail deliveries for several weeks, and constituents in Ferndale have stated that they have not received any mail deliveries for over a week.”

When the statement was written, there was also a “significant backlog of ballots that need to be delivered” which residents were concerned would affect their ability to participate in the 2022 primary election.

When asked about the issue, Nick Martin, communications director for Congresswoman DelBene, said there was no clear timeline to resolve the issue. In the meantime, they were working to monitor the complaints from the community and urged constituents to reach out to their office about ballot issues.

Update 8.3:

The United States Postal service released a statement after this article was published maintaining that there was no issue of ballots being delayed for the election August 2.

“Regarding Whatcom County and the Ferndale Post Office, we are aware of photos of packages seen on social media. The package volume shown does not involve Election Mail or ballots.  All mail is current. Additionally, local Postal management has been in close communication with election officials in the leadup to the primary, including the last several weeks,” David Rupert, USPS Manager Strategic Communications said.

“We recently experienced a period of extraordinarily high package volume. While the Postal Service in Whatcom Co and the surrounding are also experiencing some staffing and absenteeism due to illness among area employees and their families, we responded by bringing in staff from other facilities around the state. As we have previously stated, we are actively looking for and hiring new employees. We appreciate our customers’ patience with us at this time,” he continued.

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WA reps ‘demand answers’ from USPS over mail backlog