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For nearly 250 years, USPS has been a cherished giant of public life. (Photo: Paul Ratje/AFP via Getty Images)

For nearly 250 years, USPS has been a cherished giant of public life. (Photo: Paul Ratje/AFP via Getty Images)

The Postmaster General’s Manufactured Mail Slowdown and Racial Inequality

Compared to the national average, mail delay complaints are nearly 50 percent higher in zip codes with populations that are more than 45 percent Black, Indigenous, or other people of color.

Taryn MacKinney


With just days until the 2020 election, the U.S. Postal Service is handling a historic surge in mail-in voting.

At the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), our recent analysis of USPS records, which we received via Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, suggests that the number of mail-delivery complaints has risen since March, especially in communities of color.

9 in 10 people in the United States approve of the Postal Service, making it the most popular government agency.

For nearly 250 years, USPS has been a cherished giant of public life. Its reach is immense: In 2019, postal workers traveled 1.34 billion miles to deliver nearly 143 billion pieces of mail around the globe. Its employees number more than 630,000, and it handles 48 percent of the world’s mail.

Its size has not tarnished its image: 9 in 10 people in the United States approve of the Postal Service, making it the most popular government agency.

But this year, the USPS faces new challenges. The pandemic has depressed its revenue. Cost-cutting measures by the Postmaster General have strained its work. And millions of voters have already mailed ballots.

How is the USPS faring under this pressure? How did we get here? And how can we ensure that all mail, including ballots, are delivered on time?

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.

Taryn MacKinney

Taryn MacKinney is an investigative researcher for the Center for Science and Democracy at the Union of Concerned Scientists.

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NATO to Boost Ranks of High-Readiness Forces by 650% to Over 300,000

Anti-war campaigners responded that "this is not the path to peace and will not make the world safer."

Jake Johnson ·

Ilhan Omar Says Plan to Fix Supreme Court Must Include Impeachment Probes

"We need an impeachment investigation into Clarence Thomas' role in the January 6th coup, as well as into Gorsuch, Alito, Barrett, and Kavanaugh's testimony on Roe during their confirmation hearings," said the Minnesota Democrat.

Jake Johnson ·

Right-Wing Justices Should Be Impeached for Lying Under Oath, Says Ocasio-Cortez

"We have a responsibility to protect our democracy," said the New York Democrat. "That includes holding those in power who violate the law accountable."

Kenny Stancil ·

'Infuriating': Biden Rebuked for Continued Opposition to Supreme Court Expansion

"What does Biden 'agree' with doing?" Mehdi Hasan asked. "What does the leader of this country want to do to stop the increasingly fascistic assault on our democratic institutions and basic rights?"

Kenny Stancil ·

'We Need Action': Biden, Democrats Urged to Protect Abortion Access in Post-Roe US

"The Supreme Court doesn't get the final say on abortion," Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Tina Smith wrote in a new op-ed.

Kenny Stancil ·

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