Nearly two years after the 2020 election, some voters in Baltimore just received their mail-in ballots.
Wait, what happened?
Baltimore voter Nick Frisone contacted WMAR-TV after he received his 2020 mail-in ballot on Aug. 6, 2022 — nearly two years after he was notified that his ballot would be delivered.
Frisone told WMAR he knew his ballot had gone missing. That is because in late September 2020, he received an email from the Post Office informing him that his ballot would soon be delivered. But it never showed up, and he eventually obtained a replacement.
“It just never came, so then I had to call the Board of Elections and then I had to go in-person to get a replacement,” Frisone said.
When were the ballots discovered?
Tom Ouellette, a spokesperson for the United States Postal Service, explained in a statement that USPS found an innocuous tray of undelivered mail-in ballots from the 2020 election earlier this month — hence Frisone finally receiving his missing ballot.
Image source: YouTube screenshot
According to Ouellette, more than two-dozen undelivered ballots were discovered in the tray.
“Regarding ballots seen in photographs from a customer’s email, the Postal Service discovered a tray of undelivered mail in a Baltimore facility on Friday, Aug. 5,” Ouellette told WMAR.
“The tray’s mail was from year 2020 and contained what appeared to be 26 blank ballots mailed from the Baltimore City Board of Election to addresses with a Baltimore ZIP Code,” he explained. “Those mailpieces were delivered Saturday, Aug. 6.”
We deeply regret the late delivery of these mailpieces. The Postal Service takes these issues very seriously and is working to help avoid issues like this by going over our processes and procedures with all employees ahead of the general elections. The U.S. Postal Service is fully committed to the secure, timely delivery of the nation’s Election Mail. We are in close communication with the Baltimore City Election Board and look forward to a successful election in November.
Baltimore City Election Director Armstead Jones condemned the discovery.
“Individual pieces can be lost, having a tray lost is a little different story. It has to be sitting somewhere around somebody and somebody needs to look and see what it is,” Jones, who once worked as a part-time postal service employee, told WMAR.
The discovery perhaps underscores a talking point of those who advocate for enhanced election security. In the case of Frisone and his neighbors, the election system failed them by creating additional roadblocks to participating in the democratic process.
As for Frisone, he said the experience means he will never vote by mail again.
“It’s supposed to be easy to vote this way, but when the post office misplaces them, we can’t,” he said. “If there’s another pandemic, I’ll get a hazmat suit and just go in-person.”
Mail-in ballots from 2020 discovered in Baltimore USPS facility