CONTACT: Eric Manuel
TITLE: A/National Public Information Officer
Inspector In Charge Harris Delivers Remarks on Election Mail Security
CONTACT: Eric Manuel
Washington, DC – USPIS Inspector in Charge, Carroll Harris, joined USPS Chief Retail and Delivery Officer, Kristen Seaver, and USPS Executive Director of Election Mail, Justin Glass, to discuss Election Mail Delivery and Security in a media briefing. Inspector Harris provided an overview of the security measures in place for Election Mail. Inspector Harris delivered the following remarks during this briefing.
PROTECTING POLITICAL AND ELECTION MAIL
Hello. I’m Carroll Harris, Inspector in Charge of the Communications, Governance and Strategy group at the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.
As the nation’s oldest federal law enforcement agency, the Postal Inspection Service works tirelessly to ensure the public’s trust in the mail – all mail. That’s our job and we take it seriously.
The unique status of political and election mail make its security a top priority during every election cycle. Whether a customer is sending campaign mailings, ballot materials, voter registration cards, or absentee ballot applications, the Postal Inspection Service monitors election mail as it moves through the postal network to prevent, identify and resolve any issues that might interfere with its secure and timely delivery.
During this election season, we are utilizing Inspection Service employees from our 17 field division and local offices we have staffed in every state and most U.S. Territories to enforce the over 200 federal statutes involving the Postal Service and the mail. Mail theft, tampering with the mail, and mail fraud are staples of our enforcement efforts. As federal agents, we investigate these postal crimes, present the results of our investigations to the U. S. Attorney’s Office, and arrest the bad guys. These federal crimes carry serious penalties, including prison time and hefty fines.
All Inspection Service field divisions have designated and trained personnel who coordinate election mail security within their division. Inspectors also provide Postal Service managers and employees with guidance and recommendations to ensure election-related mail is properly processed and delivered.
Postal Inspectors have unique access to Postal Service facilities and regularly conduct reviews of the physical security of both the workplace and the mail in processing plants, business mail entry units, delivery units and post offices.
We also coordinate mail observations with our partners in the Office of Inspector General. Their Special Agents and auditors add another level of expertise and additional sets of “eyes.” Like the many other Inspectors General across the federal government, Postal Service OIG agents investigate instances of fraud, waste and abuse within the Postal Service, and employee misconduct falls under their purview.
The Inspection Service doesn’t just secure the physical mail, postal employees and infrastructure; we also use technology to better utilize Postal Service systems to monitor the mail and deploy other resources throughout the country to help expand the agency’s connection to the postal network. The Postal Service is considered critical infrastructure by the Department of Homeland Security, Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA). Postal Inspectors, working alongside the USPS Corporate Information Security Office, provide protection to the USPS network and the USPS.com website by monitoring threats and responding to cyber incidents. The Inspection Service also has its own cybercrime unit that is prepared to defend against potential attempts by foreign actors to infiltrate the postal network.
We take a whole-of-government approach to securing election mail, by partnering with other federal, state, and local law enforcement and government agencies, including the FBI and the Department of Justice, to identify and address any issues that might interfere with the security of election mail.
The Postal Service is still the bedrock of the nation’s communication’s system. With over 160 million delivery points nationwide, upholding the security of the mail is a team effort. Please follow these tips to keep your election mail secure.
•Don’t let incoming or outgoing mail sit in your mailbox. You can significantly reduce the chance of being victimized by potential theft by simply removing your mail from your mailbox promptly every day.
• Have your Post Office hold your mail while you’re away. Make arrangements online at USPS dot com.
• Many states have online tracking tools to help track the status of your ballot. If you believe there’s an issue with the receipt or delivery of your ballot, contact your local election office to verify its status before you contact us.
• Place outgoing mail in a blue USPS Collection Box, mail it at the Post Office or use a secure receptacle as designated by your local election office.
If you see a mail thief at work, call the police immediately, then report it to Postal Inspectors at 877-876-2455.
If you have another concern about your election mail that requires law enforcement attention, again you can contact the U.S. Postal Inspection Service at 877-876-2455. You can also report election mail crimes involving the U.S. Mail to our website at uspis.gov/report.
Despite the challenges of 2020, the Postal Inspection Service stands ready to defend against any attempts to disrupt the U.S. Mail, and to continue supporting the nation’s most trusted institution.
REPORT A CRIME
Are you a victim or have you witnessed a mail-related crime? Alert Postal Inspectors to the problem and prevent others from being victimized.REPORT NOW