Postal distribution center audit ordered after video shows ballots in bins at SW Miami-Dade branch

SOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, Fla. (WSVN) — Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle has ordered an audit of all of the county’s postal distribution centers after cellphone video recorded at a post office in Southwest Miami-Dade showed dozens of mail-in ballots in bins and on the floor, prompting calls for action from both Democratic and Republican officials.

In a statement issued Friday night, Fernandez Rundle responded to the video that was taken inside the U.S. Post Office branch in the Princeton area, along the 13000 block of Southwest 250th Street.

It reads in part, “With time running out and essential local, state and federal election issues to be decided, news of a possible postal delay in Miami-Dade County is troubling.”

Florida House Democratic Leader Kionne McGhee posted the video to Twitter after receiving it from a concerned postal worker. The footage shows dozens of mail bins, some containing mail-in ballots, left sitting unattended in a mail room.

“This is still a debacle, no matter how you look at it,” he said.

“It’s a little disturbing to see ballots laying around unsecured, unguarded at a post office,” said Miami-Dade Republicans Chairman Nelson Diaz.

The bins appear to be part of a back log at the Princeton branch.

In his tweet, McGhee wrote the postal worker informed him the ballots have been “sitting for over a week.”

Friday evening, 7News cameras captured U.S. Postal Police inspectors at the Princeton branch.

Area residents said they’re all too familiar with mail delivery delays.

“People need their mail. They’re supposed to be reliable, especially with the election coming up,” said Brittany Ellis, a small business owner.

Fernandez Rundle’s statement further reads, “We are working with the Miami-Dade Department of Elections and the United States Postal Inspector’s Office to make sure that all ballots are accounted for and all votes are counted. I have requested that all postal distribution centers be audited and any and all ballots that may remain in these centers be immediately transported to the Department of Elections.”

 

As of 10 p.m., U.S. Postal Service officials have not commented on the matter. The agency has come under close scrutiny after the recently appointed Postmaster General Louis DeJoy implemented a major restructuring and cost-cutting agenda.

In a statement, McGhee wrote, “It is unthinkable that these ballots have been sitting in boxes day after day, potentially denying people a voice in their democracy. These people did what was asked … We all know Postmaster General DeJoy has been trying to enact so-called cost cutting measures, and we all know they have slowed down the ability of our postal workers to do their jobs.”

Diaz said he is also concerned about these ballots.

“I’d like an explanation as to what these ballots are doing just sitting there, and number two, are there ballots sitting anywhere else?” he said. “Is this a common occurrence, or is this an isolated incident?”

“You have individuals who don’t have access to their medicine. You have individuals who don’t have access to documentation that they need in order to have a quality of life, and then you add in the election issue,” said McGhee. “You come to realize really quickly that this is a bigger problem.”

Suzy Trutie, a spokesperson for the Miami-Dade County Elections Departments, issued a statement on the matter that reads, “We are aware of the footage and immediately reported this to our contact at the U.S. Postal Service. They are looking into the matter and have assured us that all ballots will be delivered timely.”

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