In this election cycle, however, not only are vastly more residents choosing to vote by mail—absentee ballot requests in Wisconsin, for instance, have more than doubled compared to 2016—but, in a much under-covered move, the U.S. Postal Service under Donald Trump’s handpicked Postmaster General Louis DeJoy issued an order this summer forbidding Postal Service employees from providing witness signatures on voters’ absentee ballots.
Over the last several weeks, postal union officials have pushed DeJoy’s top lieutenants to rescind the prohibition. They’ve argued that it’s a service that letter carriers and clerks have long offered and is more necessary than ever in an election marked by COVID-19 and record levels of absentee voting. Last week, however, the USPS national management refused a final plea from the unions to reverse the order.
That could have major implications. Presidential polling margins in North Carolina and Wisconsin are narrow: +1.8 for Biden in the former, +4.6 for Biden in the latter, according to the latest Real Clear Politics average. And the Senate races in South Carolina between Lindsey Graham and Jaime Harrison and in North Carolina between Thom Tillis and Cal Cunningham are similarly close. If enough voters are impacted by the witness signature requirement in those states, it could influence the outcome of the election.