Mail delivery was humming along, despite the pandemic, when Louis DeJoy took office in June as US postmaster general. First-class mail was reaching its destination just a couple of percentage points below the Postal Service's goal of 95% of the time. DeJoy, appointed by President Trump, quickly made changes that he said were intended to save money. The changes, including ending overtime pay and shutting mail sorting machines off early, almost immediately caused a backup of mail at post offices. After an outcry that included state threats to sue, DeJoy suspended his changes, saying he didn't want to anyone to think he was trying to slow the delivery of election ballots. Data reviewed by the Guardian show just how much the mail was affected by DeJoy's changes across the country.
On-time rates have not recovered, though the changes were halted. First-class mail arrived just 61% of the time in the Detroit postal district in mid-August, after being over 90% earlier in the year. Northern Ohio, which also was over 90%, fell to 63.6% the same month, while Baltimore was running below 60%. A history professor who used to be a postal worker said the numbers reveal "the decline of on-time first-class mail from the very first day after Postmaster General DeJoy’s policies were announced and implemented." The Postal Service declined to comment on the data, per the Guardian. Another professor who monitors the Postal Service said that while there's been improvement since DeJoy's changes were paused, "the harms that were done have not yet been undone." You can see how on-time rates have changed for any district in the country here. (Read more US Postal Service stories.)