TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — When it comes to the U.S. Postal Service, Florida's seeing delivery delays in the home stretch before Election Day. It's a concern for some voters, seeing as more than a million mail-in ballots are outstanding before the Nov. 3 deadline.
With COVID-19 still a threat across the state, Monique Brown didn't want to take any chances at the polls this year.
"They were going to be crowded," said the Tallahassee student. "I figured I would vote-by-mail to keep a safe distance and to keep myself from catching the virus possibly."
Her mail-in ballot likely well on its way, but Brown does have a lingering concern. She wonders if it will arrive before the Election Day cutoff.
"No, I haven't checked," Brown said. "I should -- I should, but I haven’t checked.”
The U.S. Postal Service has been trying to get 95% of first-class mail delivered within five days. The latest national average data, from the week of Oct. 16, shows USPS is about 10 points shy of that goal, at 85.7%.
While the Central Florida district is doing a bit better, 86.5%, the rest of the state is performing worse. South Florida is at 83.5% while North Florida is 82.7%.
USPS spokeswoman Carol Hunt said postal workers are moving as quickly as possible. This year, she said, the service has greenlit more overtime, added extra processing power, and additional pickup and delivery trips.
"We are absolutely fully prepared and ready at the U.S. Postal Service," Hunt said. "Our No. 1 priority between now and November is the secure and timely delivery of our election mail," Hunt said.
The Postal Service said it typically delivers 433 million pieces of mail each day. In an online fact sheet, officials said even if every American was to vote by mail this year, it would only equal three-quarters of what the Postal Service delivers in a single day.
Still, Florida election officials report voters haven't returned about 1.8 million of the mail-in ballots provided.
And for those who haven't yet mailed them -- state officials are warning this week it's probably too late.
Secretary of State Laurel Lee suggesting on Twitter that voters use other ways to ensure ballots get counted.
“Your local supervisor of elections has provided secure drop boxes at their main and branch offices, and throughout your county at early voting sites," Lee said in her online video. "Visit your supervisor of election website for locations and times."
Florida does allow voters to switch to in-person voting if they are still waiting on a mail-in ballot or changed their minds. They may need to vote provisionally if poll workers can't confirm the status of their ballot.