USPS shares how mail-in ballots are delivered in unprecedented election

So far, Tulare County has received approximately 30,000 mail-in ballots.
VISALIA, Calif. (KFSN) -- The 2020 presidential election is unprecedented.

A record number of Americans are voting from home because of COVID-19.

That means the United States Postal Service has been tasked with handling more election mail than ever before.

With 11 days remaining until Election Day, Visalia Postmaster Jeremy Groff wants voters to know that their ballot will be handled with care and their vote will be counted.

"This year is much higher, especially nationwide than it's ever been," Groff said. "But our networks have the capacity to handle the volume. Even if every single American voted on the one given day, it still would not reach the normal volume that we handle on any given day."

Action News got a 'behind the scenes' look at what happens after a Visalia voter puts their ballot in a mailbox or a blue collection box.

First, mail carriers know precious cargo when they see it.

After collection, it will be sent to a USPS processing center, such as Bakersfield.

Then, it will be returned to the main Visalia post office on Beech Avenue.

From there, it's Debra Shimaji's job to deliver it to the Tulare County Registrar of Voters, on South Mooney Boulevard.

The entire process typically takes one day, and so far, Tulare County has received approximately 30,000 mail-in ballots.

Add a few thousand more from Debra's delivery on Friday.

"Because most of our voters, 70 to 75% are already vote by mail, we have the equipment and the staff in place to handle the volume of vote by mail ballots that we're receiving to process," said Tulare County Registrar of Voters Michelle Baldwin.

For 2020, election officials have also installed a dozen official drop boxes throughout the county, and between Halloween and Election Day there will be 19 polling places, where any voter can go to cast a ballot in-person.

But there's no reason not to vote by mail. Postal service officials say it's secure, efficient, and effective.

If necessary, their employees will take any extra steps, like making special deliveries between Monday and Election Day.

"You can trust the United States Postal Service to deliver your ballot and have it counted," Groff said. "We treasure our part in the electoral process and we look forward to it, we've been doing it for 244 years and we will do it again this year."

More information for Tulare County voters can be found here.
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