Into Delivering an Election

More than half the electorate could vote by mail this November. Is the US Postal Service ready?
Image: A USPS mail carrier delivers mail in El Paso, Texas, on April 30, 2020.
A USPS mail carrier delivers mail in El Paso, Texas, on April 30, 2020.Paul Ratje / AFP via Getty Images file

The US Postal Service reaches every corner of America – from cities to small towns. In the midst of a pandemic, postal carriers are still delivering the mail, ensuring that people can pay their bills, keep up to date on medication, and connect with loved ones – even as most of us stay home to stop the spread of coronavirus.

But for years, the post office has been in financial decline – over the last 11 years the service has lost $69 billion. Postmaster General Megan Brennan estimates that without government assistance, the office could run out of cash by the end of September. And on top of all this – the USPS will play a major role in the November election. Because of the pandemic, voting-by-mail is expected to be a popular choice come fall. But could a hamstrung postal service hurt the election process?

On this episode of Into America, Trymaine Lee sits down with NBC News Business Correspondent Stephanie Ruhle to understand the financial struggles facing the post office. Plus, a former deputy postmaster general gives an inside look at how the funding debate in Washington, DC could impact the election this fall.

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