Announcer: The following segment is sponsored by Martin, Harding & Mazzotti.
Interviewer: All right. Many people are wondering how exactly this election is going to play out and what voting will look like amid this pandemic. These questions have brought voting by mail and the United States Postal Service to the forefront. Here to help examine this is managing partner Paul Harding from the law firm of Martin, Harding & Mazzotti. So, Paul, we’ll jump right into it. We have a number of local politicians raising concerns over funding for the USPS. Can you explain why?
Paul: You know, so the last presidential election one in four votes cast were by mail, who knew? I really didn’t know that. But what they’re expecting this year presidential election is one in two. So, the stakes are high and the question is, “Hey, can the U.S. Postal Service handle it? Can they handle this many ballots?” Because the outcome is critical, but they need more funding, they need more anything. And so, it is a hot political button.
Interviewer: Assuming the USPS does not get an increase in funding, will our postal service be able to handle the increased volume?
Paul: Well, the postmaster general says, “Listen, this is nothing more than Christmas coming early. You know, at Christmas time we get inundated and we get everything delivered. We will be able to do this. We’ll be able to do that maybe with some increase over time and some processes.” But he’s saying, “Not a problem.” And the folks who are on the other side say, “Well, it better not be,” because, you know, again, these ballots get lost. There’s a lot at stake.
Interviewer: Speaking of, how do mail-in ballots differ from absentee ballots?
Paul: Right. So, absentee ballots used to be a thing that said, “Look, I can’t make it. I’m in the military. I’m disabled. I’m unable to make it to the polling station.” You had to make an excuse, I guess. New York still has that absentee ballot, you have to show good cause. Now, majority of the states, you just contact and call the no-excuse absentee ballots. You just say, “I can’t make it to the polls.” They send you a ballot. You get that in on time and your vote counts.
Interviewer: All right. So what can our viewers do to ensure that they get their ballot and they get it in on time?
Paul: Yeah. Seven days before the election, they’re saying not a problem. You know, under the worst-case scenario, it’s going to be counted because when you have these absentee ballots is sometimes they’re not counted, the majority of the reason, they get there late. Sometimes there’s other questions about them and we’ve watched these things one at a time going through these things painfully. But the majority of the time they’re kicked out is late ballots. Seven days before the election, mail it out.
Interviewer: All right, Paul, obviously, a developing situation that we’ll, of course, be keeping an eye on.
Interviewer: All right. To learn more information on what your rights are, visit our website, cbs6albany.com.