A postal vehicle in front of a United State Postal Service facility in Chicago on Aug. 13. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

The U.S. Postal Service alerted 46 states and Washington, D.C., that it cannot ensure ballots sent by mail in the general election will arrive in time to be counted, the Washington Post reported Friday.

Why it matters: The written warnings, issued at the end of July, indicate that USPS believes it may not be able to manage the sudden surge in mail-in voting due to the coronavirus, "adding another layer of uncertainty ahead of the high-stakes presidential contest," the Post writes.

  • As the November election inches closer, USPS operations have recently been reduced due to cost-cutting measures and organizational overhauls ordered by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy.
  • Late mail deliveries could disqualify votes across most of the U.S. — including in battlegroup states like Florida, Pennsylvania and Michigan.
  • The results of the presidential race could be delayed for days after Nov. 3 if states choose to extend their mail-in voting deadlines.

What they're saying: The letters, sent by USPS's general counsel Thomas Marshall, caution that states' "deadlines for requesting, returning or counting ballots were 'incongruous' with mail service and that voters who send ballots in close to those deadlines may become disenfranchised," WaPo writes.

  • “The Postal Service is asking election officials and voters to realistically consider how the mail works,” Martha Johnson, a spokeswoman for the USPS, said in a statement, according to WaPo.

The big picture: In response to USPS's warnings, some states have begun altering their election deadlines.

  • Pennsylvania's officials asked the state Supreme Court to order that mail-in ballots remain countable as long as election officials receive them up to three days after the election.
  • President Trump vowed on Thursday to block demands to fund mail-in voting and the USPS, claiming without evidence that absentee ballots produce widespread voter fraud.

Democratic leadership told DeJoy in a letter Friday that the $25 billion requested for the USPS came from the agency itself and not from Democrats for universal mail-in voting, as Trump claimed on Thursday.

  • "On Tuesday — two days before the President made his admissions — your General Counsel and Executive Vice President, Thomas J. Marshall, sent two letters to Congress," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wrote.
  • "The first admitted that the Postal Service now lacks the funding necessary to fulfill its core mission. His letter included this stark warning: 'We are currently unable to balance our costs with available funding sources to fulfill both our universal service mission and other legal obligations.'"

The letter demanded that DeJoy provide documents and answers by Aug. 21 on changes they say could damage the Postal Service's ability to process mail-in ballots.

Go deeper: House Oversight chair introduces bill to preserve USPS services

Go deeper

Sep 18, 2020 - Politics & Policy

In photos: Virginians line up for hours on first day of early voting

A long line of voters wait to cast their ballots at the Fairfax County Government Center in Fairfax, Virginia, for the November presidential election on Friday, the first day of early voting in the state. Photo: John McDonnell/The Washington Post via Getty Images

In some parts of Virginia, people waited in line up to four hours to cast their ballots on the first day of early voting, according to the Washington Post.

The big picture: The COVID-19 pandemic seems to already have an impact on how people cast their votes this election season. As many as 80 million Americans are expected to vote early, by mail or in person, Tom Bonier, CEO of TargetSmart, a Democratic political data firm, told Axios in August.

Louisville police declare state of emergency as Breonna Taylor decision looms

A demonstrator holds up a sign of Breonna Taylor during a protest in Louisville, Kentucky. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

The Louisville police chief declared in a memo obtained by news outlets a "state of emergency" for the department on Monday to prepare for Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron's expected announcement on the Breonna Taylor case.

Of note: Louisville has witnessed more than 115 days of protests over the police killing of Taylor, an unarmed Black woman, with calls for all the officers involved to be charged.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

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  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 31,1833,800 — Total deaths: 962,793— Total recoveries: 21,348,410Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 6,833,800 — Total deaths: 199,818 — Total recoveries: 2,615,949 — Total tests: 95,841,281Map.
  3. Health: CDC says it mistakenly published guidance about COVID-19 spreading through air.
  4. Media: Conservative blogger who spread COVID-19 misinformation worked for Fauci's agency.
  5. Politics: House Democrats file legislation to fund government through Dec. 11.
  6. World: U.K. upgrades COVID alert level as Europe sees worrying rise in infections — "The Wake-Up Call" warns the West about the consequences of mishandling a pandemic.

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