Here’s a little bit of math that should give voters succor. In 2016, about 140 million total votes were cast in the presidential election, according to the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, with “nearly 24 percent…cast using by-mail absentee voting.” Due to Covid-19 concerns, the percentage of mail-in and absentee ballots will almost surely be higher this time around—possibly as high as 70 percent of all votes cast. Assume, for the sake of argument, that the same number of votes will be cast this year as in 2016. Even if all voters used the mail and posted their ballots on exactly the same day, that would comprise only 30 percent of the amount of mail the USPS says it processes every single day.
So if the USPS screws up delivering votes in a timely and efficient manner this fall, it won’t be because of any sinister actions by the White House. It will be because of longstanding, well-documented managerial and cultural problems that gave rise to such stock portrayals of letter carriers as Seinfeld’s Newman and Cheers’ Cliff Clavin. As Reason’s Eric Boehm has documented, it may take weeks or even months for a final tally of all votes this fall; depending on the closeness of the race on Election Day, that waiting period may be excrutiating to live through. But that has less to do with the USPS and more to do with local and state voting boards.