Union leaders and elected officials nationally are raising the alarm about the removal of postal equipment nationally, with the United States Postal Service confirming that processing machines were removed earlier this year from sites in Kansas and Missouri.


The news comes as USPS has engaged in aggressive cost cutting under the leadership of Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, who was appointed in May. That includes cutting overtime and halting procedures designed to ensure on-time mail delivery.


This has caused concerns that voters will struggle to rely on USPS to send their absentee ballots in the fall.


At least a handful of states received a letter from the USPS warning them that they might not be able to guarantee on-time delivery of ballots in November, although officials in the Secretary of State’s office said Kansas was not one of them.


That’s despite reporting by the Washington Post, which said 46 states and the District of Columbia received the correspondence.


Katie Koupal, a SoS spokeswoman, said the elections team reported no such letter had been received. She said the agency remained engaged on the issue to ensure a smooth absentee voting process.


"Throughout the primary election cycle and now, as we prepare for the general election, our team is having daily conversations to discuss issues that might impact Kansas elections with postal officials in Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri and at the federal level," she said in an email.


But news broke later in the day, first reported by CNN, that at least one mail machine had been removed from sites in Wichita and Kansas City, mirroring similar moves nationally.


The machines are used to organize and sort mail, leading to concerns that delays could occur.


USPS spokesman Mark Inglett confirmed the report but said in an email that it was a pre-planned, "multi-year effort" designed to respond to current trends in mail delivery.


"Adapting our processing infrastructure to the current volumes will ensure more efficient, cost-effective operations and better service for our customers," Inglett said.


But lawmakers, especially Democrats, have raised the alarm that changes under DeJoy will disrupt both voting and the delivery of other essential items, such as medication, which constituents rely upon.


They also have laid the blame at the feet of President Donald Trump, who has said he opposes needed USPS funding because of mail-in voting.


U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids (D-Kan.), Kansas’ only Democrat in Congress, said in a statement Thursday that DeJoy should resign to pave the way for "new, nonpartisan leadership."


"I will not stand by while this President and his cronies try to tear apart this constitutionally-mandated and extremely popular institution piece by piece in order to serve their political agenda," she said in a statement.


Secretary of State Scott Schwab said last week that there were no reports during the primary election "that [post offices] are being overrun."


But he cautioned that voters who want to ensure their ballot reaches its intended destination should instead drop it off at their local polling place.


"Unless you absolutely have to trust the post office, it is better to just drop it off," Schwab said.