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West Penn couple just wants ballots

A West Penn Township couple is wondering where their absentee ballots are.

Michelle and Eric Davenport applied for their ballots in August, but have yet to receive them in the mail.

“My husband is adamant about being part of this election, and so am I,” Michelle said Thursday.

The couple travel often and will not be in Schuylkill County to vote Nov. 3. For the past 10 years, Michelle said they have requested the absentee ballots and haven’t had a problem.

Albert Gricoksi, director of the Schuylkill County Election Office, confirmed Thursday their ballots were mailed the week of Oct. 5.

“They were sent,” he said.

Outgoing mail goes to the Pottsville Post Office, to Harrisburg, then to the local post office. Gricoski said the office receives “a lot of calls” from voters inquiring about their ballots.

“I know that 90 percent of absentee ballots are out,” Gricoski said.

Those words are of little comfort to Davenport. She will believe it when she see has the opportunity to cast her ballot. A neighbor checks her mail and will overnight her ballot to her.

“I feel like I am going to be left out of this election. I’m angry and my husband is, too. This is not fair,” she said.

Davenport even calls the local post office in New Ringgold daily, asking where her ballot is. The postmaster of the post office said Thursday Davenport calls about her ballot but declined further comment.

Desi Abdul-Razzaaq, spokesperson for the United States Post Office covering central Pennsylvania, said customers can call 1-800-275-8777 to ask questions. Davenport has done that. She said the call center representative gave her a number to a post office in Harrisburg. She left a message and hasn’t had a return call.

“The call center lady said it probably went to the distribution center (in Harrisburg),” she said.

Davenport said she also called the Pottsville post office.

“They said I should have had it by now,” Davenport said.

She isn’t concerned only about her future. She has children.

“It’s going to be their future,” she said.

Davenport said she also contacted Schuylkill County Commissioner Gary Hess about the ballots.

“He told me it’s in the mail,” she said.

Hess was unable to be reached for comment.

Mail volume

Earlier this month, the United States Post office released a statement about the surge in mail volume.

“The postal service has seen a significant increase in mail volume, with volume surpassing 3 billion pieces for the week of Oct. 3. This surge in volume represents an increase of 19 percent, or an additional 480 million mail pieces, compared to the average volume in September. It also represents a 5 percent in increase, or an additional 140 million mail pieces, compared to the same period last year,” the statement said.

Additional post office resources are being used to deal with the increasing mail volume related to the Nov. 3 election.

“The U.S. Postal Service’s number one priority between now and the November election, is the secure, on-time delivery of the nation’s election mail. The Postal Service, our unions, and the more than 630,000 postal employees are united in delivering on this sacred duty. These actions ensure additional resources will be made available as needed to handle whatever volume of election mail we receive,” Postmaster General Louis DeJoy said in an Oct. 1 statement.