How USPS is handling record number of mail-in ballots in Colorado

Posted at 8:07 PM, Oct 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-28 08:01:45-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — With a record number of Coloradans voting early this year, USPS has kept busy handling hundreds of thousands of mail-in ballots. According to the Secretary of State, more than 1.7 million ballots have been received so far.

El Paso County Clerk and Recorder Chuck Broerman says more than 210,000 ballots have been turned in out of the 425,000, and thanks to the Postal Service they've been able to manage the high volume.

"Most Presidential elections in El Paso County is around 70%. We look like we're going to hit a record here of 80%," said Broerman.

As Coloradans prepare to set records Nov. 3, Colorado Springs Postmaster JoLea Quintana says they're working with local and state election officials to ensure everyone's vote gets to the clerk.

"Staffing had been a problem during this, but we are using the overtime needed to make sure the mail is delivered promptly," said Quintana.

That means allocating additional resources through election season such as expanded processing procedures, extra transportation, extra delivery, and collection trips. While there has been a high volume of mail-in ballots, Quintana says they've been able to handle it.

"It's spread over a 2 1/2 week period that they're coming back. So you can see we added today 1,600 pieces to the daily mail volume today and it's just a small percentage," said Quintana.

She says they've prepared for the election, and are working hard to ensure ballots get to the clerk in a timely fashion.

"We ran collections this last Sunday which we don't normally do. We're running collections again this Sunday and we will be isolating those ballots on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday," said Quintana.

News5 spoke to Teddy Brown who had gone to the Postal Service to find a drop-off location.

"With the mail conditions and the mail slow and stuff, I wanted to make sure my vote counted," said Brown.

He believes the Postal Service has done a good job during election season, especially amid a pandemic.

"You can't ask a whole of people with the COVID-19. It's already going to be slow with the Christmas packages and everything," said Brown.

From now through election day, Quintana says retail hours at post offices won't be reduced, mail processing equipment and blue collection boxes will remain where they are, and election mail will continue to be prioritized.

It is now too late to mail-in ballots, but there are hundreds of drop-off locations across southern Colorado.