Photo: Tom Brenner-Pool/Getty Images

The U.S. Postal Service is partnering with the leaders of the four major postal unions on a joint task force to ensure that every voter can have their ballot counted through mail-in voting in the upcoming election, USPS announced in a video on its website.

Why it matters: The commitment follows concerns that the USPS will not be able to handle the expected increase in the volume of mail-in ballots driven by the pandemic. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, a longtime Republican fundraiser, has faced scrutiny from Democrats amid President Trump's attacks on mail-in voting.

Details: The task force will "enhance our work with election officials and jurisdictions throughout the country" while also working to address issues related to voter education and best practices for mail-in voting, DeJoy says in the video. It will also work to "maintain the trust of the American public," DeJoy adds.

Members of the task force include:

  • Fred Rolando of the National Association of Letter Carriers
  • Ronnie Stutts of the National Rural Letter Carriers Association
  • Mark Dimondstein of the American Postal Workers Union
  • Paul Hogrogian of the National Postal Mail Handlers Union

What they're saying: The partnership is a "statement of unity and commitment" to delivering election mail on time, a USPS official told Axios.

  • "The point is that the organization really is united by the civic duty and vital role of delivering election mail, which is true every year."

Go deeper

Trump casts ballot in Florida ahead of massive campaign weekend

President Trump. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump cast his ballot in Florida on Saturday ahead of a jam-packed weekend of campaigning just 10 days ahead of the general election.

The big picture: Trump registered as a Florida voter in 2018, citing his Mar-a-Lago residence. His in-person vote comes amid a massive uptick in mail-in voting due to the coronavirus pandemic, but Trump argues mail-in voting is typically unsafe and ripe for fraud.

Updated Oct 20, 2020 - Axios Events

Watch: A conversation on America's voting barriers

On Tuesday, October 23, Axios' Sara Kehaulani Goo, Margaret Talev, and Alexi McCammond hosted a virtual event on barriers to voting access across the country, featuring Southwest Voter Registration Education Project President Lydia Camarillo, U.S. Election Assistance Commission Chairman Benjamin Hovland, Florida Rights Restoration Coalition President Desmond Meade and "The West Wing" actors Janel Moloney and Richard Schiff.

Benjamin Hovland unpacked how to vote safely during this unprecedented year and highlighted the uptick in mail-in ballots and early voting.

  • On a notable increase in early ballots being cast: "We're seeing a surge in early in-person voting...We're already at around 30 million Americans that have already voted in the 2020 election, which is pretty remarkable."
  • On the impact of the pandemic on mail-in ballots: "About 25% of Americans vote by mail in a normal year, or in 2016. So we're going to see an increase probably closer to half."

Lydia Camarillo discussed the importance of the Latino electorate in American elections.

  • The impact on November's election: "I think that the Latino electorate can be the deciding factor in this election — in partnership with other groups like the Black community, the Muslim community, Asian American community and progressives. They will decide the election."

Desmond Meade, who helped lead the 2018 fight for Amendment 4 in Florida, unpacked the expansion of voting rights and Florida's impact on similar state-level policy changes across the country.

  • On restoring felon rights: "This thing has caught on like a wildfire. All across this country, people are really standing up. Because America is a nation of second chances. And it's showing up right now in a major way."

Janel Moloney and Richard Schiff discussed the recent "The West Wing" episode on HBO Max and the experience of reuniting as an ensemble cast.

  • Richard Schiff on the meaning of the episode: "It's a rare thing in this day and age around the world to have the privilege to vote and the right to vote. And we should be very careful to not let it be extinguished and that this episode addresses that."

Axios Vice President of Event Kristin Burkhalter hosted a View from the Top segment with Lyft Head of Policy Engagement and Strategic Partnerships Heather Foster who discussed how transportation plays a critical role in voting access.

  • "We took a look at the statistics that came out of 2016, and it was estimated at the time that more than 15 million eligible voters did not go to the polls because they lacked a way to get there."

This event was the first in a yearlong series called Hard Truths, where we'll be discussing the wide ranging impact of systemic racism in America. Read our deep dive on race and voting here.

Thank you Lyft for sponsoring this event.

First day of N.Y. early voting sees massive turnout

New York began its early voting period on Saturday, prompting long lines with people waiting to cast their ballots.

The big picture: America has seen an uptick in mail-in and early voting this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Social distancing and poll-worker shortages could make voting on Election Day a lengthy and potentially chaotic process, but early voting measures have still seen backlogs.