Postal worker representatives are concerned cost-cutting measures from the United States Postal Service over the summer have already damaged and delayed the delivery process.
The spotlight has been on the USPS since President Trump said he opposes additional money for the postal service, citing his opposition to increasing vote-by-mail.
“There’s just so much at stake for the everyday American people and it's unfair,” said Wanda Harris, President of the Miami-area postal worker union.
Harris told NBC 6 her region dismantled five local mail sorting machines because of cost-cutting measures in the spring and summer.
“It’s OK to do change. Most change is for the better. But it’s how you do it. You got people’s livelihood at stake,” Harris said.
The new Postmaster General, Louis DeJoy, told senators in a D.C. hearing those machines are not coming back.
"Will you be bringing back any mail sorting machines that have been removed since you became post master general?” asked Sen. Gary Peters, D-Michigan.
“There’s no intention to do that, they’re not needed sir,” DeJoy responded.
“So you won’t bring back any processors?” Peters asked.
“They’re not needed sir,” DeJoy said again.
NBC 6 Investigators teamed up with NBC-owned stations across the country and mailed 155 letters from a dozen cities nationwide on Aug.14 - sending about a third within the same region, another third in the same state and the remaining third to a different state.
The USPS said that in the three months that ended on June 30, 93% of local first-class mail arrived within two days. In our test, by comparison, 75% of local letters arrived within two days, and 90% arrived within three days.
The USPS said that 82.5% of mail traveling longer distances arrived within three to five days. In our test, 75% of interstate mail arrived within three days and 90% arrived within four days.
However, two of the 155 letters in our test, 1.3%, failed to arrive after 12 business days.
The slight delay is spurring election officials to warn voters to get their ballots in the mail as early as possible.
“The sooner you get it to us the sooner we can count that we have received your ballot. The important thing is we start sending vote by mail ballots 30 days before the election, so there’s no reason to wait until the last minute. Get your ballot, fill it out and send it back,” said Suzy Trutie from the Miami-Dade Supervisor of Elections.
A recent NBC 6 Investigation found thousands of votes in Miami-Dade and Broward were not counted in August because they arrived too late.
DeJoy said the cost-cutting measures were implemented before he started the job over the summer. He said he stopped them and will not start them again until after the election.
DeJoy says he, in no way, is trying to slow down voting.
“The insinuation is quite frankly outrageous,” DeJoy said.
The United States House of Representatives passed a bill with $25 billion in additional funding for the postal service. South Florida Democratic Representatives – Donna Shalala, Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, Frederica Wilson, Ted Deutch, Lois Frankel, Alcee Hastings, Debbie Wasserman Schultz - voted in favor of the bill.
Republican Representatives Francis Rooney and Brian Mast voted against the measure. Representative Mario Diaz-Balart says he missed a plane to D.C. and was not able to vote but tells NBC 6 he would have voted against the measure.
Rep. Greg Steube, R-Bradenton, also did not vote and has not explained why to a request for comment by NBC 6.