MONTPELIER — Vermont’s congressional delegation is demanding that the U.S. Postal Service install new equipment at the White River Junction mail processing facility that it says is critical to the efficient handling of mail, including the record number of mail-in ballots for the Nov. 3 election.
The facility’s so-called cancellation machines have been due to be replaced for several years and USPS recently removed one, leaving the center with a single operating machine, the delegation said. In a letter to Postmaster General Louis DeJoy on Tuesday, U.S Sens. Bernie Sanders, an independent, and Patrick Leahy, a Democrat, and fellow Democrat Rep. Peter Welch wrote that they just heard from workers that the machine broke down forcing them to process mail by hand, which the delegation called “outrageous.”
“While we have been promised for months that a new AFCS 200 cancellation machine will be installed, we have just learned that this will not occur until January of 2021 at the earliest,” the delegation said in the letter. “This timing is both unacceptable and another example of this administration’s attempt to sabotage the Postal Service and the 2020 election.”
David Partenheimer, a U.S. Postal Service spokesperson, said in an email Wednesday that “all reports from White River Junction indicate that there were no service disruptions and mail is being processed normally,” though he said the USPS will continue to investigate and respond to the delegation’s letter directly.
“The Postal Service’s number one priority between now and the November election is the secure, on time delivery of the nation’s Election Mail,” he wrote.