WFXR INVESTIGATES: How mail delivery times throughout Lynchburg could affect mail-in voting

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LYNCHBURG, Va (WFXR) — With reports of mail delays coming from across the country, many are concerned about how this will impact mail-in voting.

WFXR News conducted a non-scientific experiment, by mailing letters at the same time from different neighborhoods throughout Lynchburg, to simulate what it would be like for residents to mail in their ballots to the same location.

Using blue mailboxes, commercial outgoing mail slots, the mailboxes of willing residents, and the Post Office downtown, WFXR News sent letters out the morning of Wednesday, Aug. 19, to the same address.

Most arrived on Friday, Aug. 21. Those that arrived the fastest were sent from Whyndhurst, the Post Office, Dearington, Fort Hill, Boonsboro, College Hill, and White Rock Hill.

The one sent from Downtown arrived on Saturday, Aug. 22, after three days.

Mirgina Sheffey is active in voter registration through her organization, Lynchburg RISE.

“I know that a lot of people are very concerned about how mail-in voting will work,” she said, “especially with COVID, and everything that’s going on with the Post Office, but it’s very encouraging.”

However, a letter sent from Katie Webb Cyphert’s mailbox in Rivermont took five days to arrive.

“It was in the mailbox all day Wednesday, all day Thursday, was not picked up either day and was finally picked up on Friday,” she said, noting that she’s been receiving less mail lately for a carrier to drop off, but that the letter was picked up the same day a package arrived at her home.

“I’m glad there were no delays in the supply chain once it was picked up.”

She says if it were her real ballot and not an experiment, she would have dropped it off at a Post Office after one day.

“I recognize that not everybody has the ability to simply walk over a mile to the mail one direction or the other or to drive it to a nearby Post Office,” she said.

Eric Harrison, Lynchburg’s Republican Party chair, says it’s comforting they all arrived in less than a week but offers some advice.

“I would encourage anybody that’s voting absentee to request that ballot early and get it done or take advantage of the in-person absentee option at the registrar’s office itself,” he said. “That’s actually what I would recommend the most.”

A local spokesperson for the U.S. Postal Service declined to be interviewed about this experiment and instead sent WFXR News the Post Master General’s statement delivered to a Senate committee, as well as this press release.

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