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USPS had election missteps, but deserves better support

Told in school that a really, really big test was coming up and that passing it was critical not just to you but also to your entire school, you’d probably do all you could to be prepared.

Were you told that no expense would be spared in providing resources for you to prepare for the exam, you probably would be confident of earning an A.

But then, you aren’t the U.S. Postal Service.

If this year’s presidential election is proving anything to Americans, it is that the USPS deserves more support.

From rank-and-file mail sorters to the agency’s top brass, it has been clear for months that the election would be a test for the USPS.

Millions of voters chose to use mail-in ballots for this election.

Many did so out of fear of contracting COVID-19 if they went to the polls on Nov. 3.

Warnings — backed by a few horror stories from primary elections — went out that lost ballots and delays in returning them to election officials would be a problem.

It appears — as of this day, anyway — that this “independent” agency of the executive branch of the United States’ government did a reasonable job amid staff and resource cuts.

Still, postal data through early October indicated that nearly every Postal Service region was unable to meet the goal of having at least 95% of first-class mail delivered within five days. In some states, including some categorized as battlegrounds in the presidential election, the 95% goal was missed by wide margins, The Associated Press reported.

Understand that the expectation — really, the demand — is that general mail should be delivered within or in three days, depending on distance traveled. The USPS has struggled to deliver in five days in some cases.

Understand this: The overwhelming majority of the Postal Service’s nearly 470,000 career employees work hard and conscientiously to provide the best service they can.

This is not their problem.

It is one of management — and one that has not been addressed for many years.

The administration and Congress must provide better support of the USPS while also finding more efficiencies.

Many Americans are counting on it.

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