FedEx telling voters their mail-in ballots ‘won’t be counted,' sending them to post office

Can you send a mail-in ballot by FedEx in Tennessee?
Published: Oct. 27, 2020 at 4:58 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - A local woman is warning others after she claims she was turned away by a Knoxville FedEx when she went to drop off her mail-in ballot.

According to the Tennessee Secretary of State, absentee voters can mail their ballots using methods other than the United States Postal Service. Per its website, absentee voters cannot turn in their mail-in ballots by hand but: “You must return your ballot by mail (USPS, FedEx, UPS, etc.).”

Reuters also reported over the summer that FedEx said, “FedEx does accept individual ballots, and we advise that customers planning to return their ballots via FedEx should closely review their state’s guidelines on absentee voting and deadlines for ballots or related election documents.”

That’s why Janey Stanley was alarmed, she said, when she reached out to a Knox County FedEx office to ask if they would mail her ballot and was turned away. She claimed they encouraged her to use the post office after being told by corporate that ballots by FedEx would not be counted.

The woman said she was told this at two different FedEx offices, one was located on Kingston Pike. She said she reported the incident to the Knox County Election Commission.

When an employee with WVLT News reached out to the FedEx location on Kingston Pike in Bearden, a worker who answered the phone said they were instructed by their corporate office to discourage people from turning in mail-in ballots, “We were just told yesterday...that ballots do not get counted. Why that is, I have no idea...they didn’t give us an explanation. I would just go to the post office.”

WVLT News turned to the Knox County Election Commission to see if mail-in ballots can be accepted via FedEx. Chris Davis, Assistant Administrator, confirmed that Tennesseans can send their votes via FedEx for mail-in voting.

Davis also noted that they received a complaint from a voter who had been turned away from FedEx, but couldn’t confirm whether the incident happened. “If this did happen,” he said, “[maybe it was] one employee who wasn’t knowledgeable about his or her business.”

Stanely told WVLT News Reporter Sam Luther she hopes this doesn’t happen to others because, she said, it could discourage voters from casting their ballots.

WVLT News has reached out to corporate FedEx officials for comment.

October 27 was the last day to obtain a mail-in ballot. You can learn about how to do that here.

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