Rebound Detroit mail experiment: How long does it take for mail to travel in Metro Detroit?

Posted at 6:30 PM, Sep 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-24 18:30:21-04

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (WXYZ) — At a time when the United States Postal Service is expected to be busier than ever before, we wanted to know how long does it really take for a standard piece of mail to go from point A to point B.

A pandemic, an election, and an unprecedented demand for mail-in ballots: It’s the trifecta that together are sparking questions and anxieties from metro Detroiters that includes Curtis Wellhausen.

"Originally, I thought voting would be the best option just with COVID being in a group of people but just knowing how delayed everything is, I don’t want my vote being missing or lost and not knowing until after the fact," said Curtis Wellhausen.

The United States Postal Service says the reductions in postal service seen over the summer that created a major backlog across the country have been reversed.

We are still hearing from you at the Rebound Detroit that mail delays are still a reality, making some Metro Detroit resort to what they know.

"I’m just going to show up in person that way I know my vote actually counts," said one Metro Detroiter.

For others who simply can’t afford to take on that health risk and plan to depend on the postal service, we went to work to find out just how bad those mail delays are today.

Have we seen an improvement since the summer?

If you gave yourself a week or even two before the election to put a ballot in the mail, would that be enough time? Would it depend on where you live or whether you mail from the post office, a post box, or home?

Today, an experiment of sorts I’m sending out 25 pieces of mail, with the standard postage and I’ll track how long it takes to make its way through the system.

We will be in different cities and zip codes throughout Oakland, Wayne, and Macomb counties, and destination will be our 7 Action News in Southfield.

So how did we determine where exactly to send out these letters?

We went to you on social media and asked for your input on the biggest problem areas. Today we are hitting up those spots one by one starting in Sterling Heights.

After all, this that’s the city that grabbed national headlines when 165 absentee voter ballots for the August 4th, 2020 Primary arrived in the mail six days late.

Elsewhere in Macomb County, we stopped in Warren, Eastpointe, and St. Clair Shores.

In Oakland County, we made stops in Southfield, Pontiac, and Ferndale.

In Wayne County, everywhere from the city of Detroit and to Downriver cities and then to Livonia.

Well, for now, our work is done!

We have taken these letters all around Metro Detroit. We have sent them out from homes, from postal boxes, and also direct from the postal office.

Now we’re just waiting for them to make their way back to us. As soon as we get the results, we’re going to bring them directly to you.