Mail delays have skyrocketed in Pennsylvania as the U.S. Postal Service deals with an influx of mail from absentee voting, according to data filed Wednesday in federal court.
Of mail sent first-class, 42% is taking longer than five days to be delivered, compared to 33% two weeks ago and 13% in January.
Central Pennsylvania also saw delays, with more than 30% being delivered after five days, up from 7% at the start of the year.
State officials are encouraging voters to return their absentee ballots by hand, rather than risk missing the deadline for votes to be counted due to the delay.
The USPS released data due to a court order resulting from a lawsuit by a voter advocacy group. It reported that, nationwide, 95% of ballots were delivered within five days, as of October 27. Nearly 90% of outgoing ballots and 33% of campaign mailers also met that standard.
Central Pennsylvania is among the worst areas for timely delivery of mail-in ballots, according to the filings. The percentage of requested ballots that arrived within five days was between a little more the 1% and 36%, while the percentage of completed ballots delivered within five days was between 60% and 87%.
The election is five days away, including a Sunday without mail delivery.