Skeptical of USPS cuts, Philadelphia voters hand-deliver ballots instead

Friday, October 9, 2020
Philly voters line up to bring ballots at drop boxes
Dozens of Philadelphia voters chose to deliver their vote in person, rather than trust the United States Postal Service.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- More than a hundred voters lined up outside City Hall Thursday to hand in their mail-in ballots to election officials.

The ballot drop boxes were rolled out to the sidewalk at 11:30 a.m. and one by one, voters dropped their ballots into the slot.

"I want to physically give my ballot to somebody I know will be able to count it. That's why I'm waiting in line," said Marta Bean of Rittenhouse Square.

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Tonda Rhodes drove from Southwest Philadelphia to hand in her ballot in person because she doesn't trust the United States Postal Service. She said she's worried her ballot could be lost, discarded or destroyed.

"I want to make sure my vote counts," said Rhodes.

Nick Casselli, president of the American Postal Workers Union in Philadelphia, said he understands the concerns. He has them too.

On Thursday, he blasted Postmaster General Louis DeJoy for continuing to make cuts at the mail sorting facility on Lindbergh Boulevard in Southwest Philadelphia despite a court ruling stopping him. DeJoy has been accused of stopping overtime, removing sorting machines and other measures that in effect delayed mail delivery.

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"Mr. DeJoy was ordered by a federal judge not to disassemble any more machines. Well, yesterday I received a picture from one of my union officers that showed another machine laying in that scrapyard disassembled for scrap. That makes nine machines in this area," said Casselli.

Casselli said each machine processed 100,000 pieces of mail in an 8-hour shift and he's concerned it will impact the timeliness of mail delivery at a potentially critical time.

At a news conference outside the sorting facility, Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced that he is asking the federal judge to appoint a monitor to ensure cuts are rolled back.