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Exclusive: UPS and FedEx warn they cannot transport ballots like US Postal Service

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – United Parcel Service and FedEx on Friday rejected calls on social media in which they intervened to deliver mail-in ballots from the U.S. Postal Service, which warns states of potentially “significant” delays.

“State ballots must be postmarked to be considered valid and only the USPS has legal postmark status. Therefore, UPS, FedEx and other private parties cannot technically be involved in shipping the ballots,” UPS told Reuters in a statement.

“FedEx accepts individual ballots, and we advise customers considering returning their ballots via FedEx to carefully review their state’s guidelines on voting by mail and deadlines for ballots or election materials. related,” FedEx said.

Republican President Donald Trump said on Thursday he opposed providing funds to the struggling Postal Service for mail-in voting, which is expected to reach 50% as the coronavirus pandemic rages ahead of the Nov. 3 presidential election. .

The Postal Service said Friday it has written to 46 states and is warning the District of Columbia that there is a significant risk that voters will not have enough time to fill out and return their ballots.

In a viral post on Twitter here On Thursday, author and radio host David Rothkopf said there was a “great opportunity” for UPS and FedEx to deliver ballots for free. “You will become America’s most loved and respected organization overnight,” he wrote.

Various laws and regulations mostly prohibit private delivery companies from handling mail-in and mail-in ballots, the companies and experts told Reuters. Exceptions include deliveries deemed “extremely urgent” by law and deliveries on the day and afternoon before Election Day.

In some states, the collection would be banned because it would be considered “ballot harvesting,” said Tammy Patrick, a former Arizona election official and senior adviser to the Democracy Fund.

There are other hurdles that these businesses, already facing a pandemic-related surge in e-commerce shipments, would need to overcome.

For example, the Postal Service hits every US mailbox six days a week. Private companies only visit when they have pre-arranged delivery or pickup – and they don’t have global coverage in rural areas.

Amazon.com’s upstart delivery service was also offered as an alternative. This service does not do residential pickup.

Representatives for Amazon and the Postal Service did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

“Establishing a protocol on how they would collect ballots would be a challenge,” Patrick said.

Domestic costs would skyrocket since delivery companies charge far more for deliveries than the price of a 55-cent stamp, which is the cost of returning many ballots.

And the international costs would be “astronomical,” Patrick said.

Reporting by Lisa Baertlein in Los Angeles; Editing by Greg Mitchell and Daniel Wallis

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