This week, Rep. Peter Welch and 74 other representatives demanded that new Postmaster General Louis DeJoy answer for his attempts to gut the Postal Service.
“With millions of Americans expected to vote by mail, an attack on the Postal Service is an attack on democracy,” Welch said this week.
The one-page letter notes, “The House is seriously concerned that you are implementing policies that accelerate the crisis at the postal service, including directing all post offices to not treat all election mail as First Class. If implemented now, as the election approaches, this would cause further delays to the election mail that will disenfranchise voters and put significant financial pressure on election jurisdictions.”
Speaking with Maria Bartiromo on Fox Business Network on Thursday morning, Trump appeared to confirm that he opposes Democrats’ proposed funding for mail-in balloting and the U.S. Postal Service in order to make it more difficult to expand voting by mail.
“Now they need that money in order to make the post office work, so it can take all of these millions and millions of ballots,” he said. “But if they don’t get those two items, that means you can’t have universal mail-in voting, because they’re not equipped to have it.”
Trump is arguing that the post office is unreliable and that mail-in ballots lead to fraud — despite basically no evidence of large-scale fraud. Trump and the White House have regularly cited dubious evidence in making the case, including pointing to ballots that have been rejected for reasons unrelated to fraud and dodgy data about voter registration numbers.
Meanwhile, mail sorting equipment is being removed from U.S. Postal Service offices amid a slew of “operational changes” implemented by DeJoy.
Numerous published reports have detailed how changes made by DeJoy, a top donor to President Donald Trump and the Republican Party, have cut overtime and changed policies, which have slowed down mail nationwide.
DeJoy, who took over the cash-strapped agency in June, has said the USPS was “vigorously focusing on the ingrained inefficiencies in our operations.”
“By running our operations on time and on schedule, and by not incurring unnecessary overtime or other costs, we will enhance our ability to be sustainable and to be able to continue to provide high-quality, affordable service,” he said, adding that the agency would “aggressively monitor and quickly address service issues.”
Democrats are not buying the ruse.
Last week, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, said DeJoy had “confirmed that contrary to prior denials and statements minimizing these changes, the Postal Service recently instituted operational changes” shortly after he assumed office.
“We believe these changes, made during the middle of a once-in-a-century pandemic, now threaten the timely delivery of mail — including medicines for seniors, paychecks for workers, and absentee ballots for voters — that is essential to millions of Americans,” they wrote in an Aug. 6 letter to DeJoy, calling the cost-cutting measures “counterproductive and unacceptable.”
The USPS, which underwent a controversial staff shake-up after DeJoy took over, recently advised the nation’s secretaries of state to use high-priority first-class postage, which costs 55 cents an item, on election mail rather than the third-class, or bulk, rate of 20 cents typically used.
According to columnist Aaron Blake, who write “The Fix” for The Washington Post, “If (Trump is) so concerned about fraud and about the Postal Service’s ability to handle mail-in ballots, after all, couldn’t more funding help alleviate those problems? And if your true concern is about fraud, why would you cite ‘levels of voting’ — i.e. turnout — rather than that alleged fraud?”
Blake notes that Republicans have repeatedly pointed in the direction of this being about electoral gain rather than their concerns about fraud. (Notably, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) last year suggested that Democrats’ proposal to make Election Day a federal holiday — something that would logically increase turnout — was “a power grab that’s smelling more and more like exactly what it is.”)
That is not what this is about. It’s about giving every American the ability to vote — a right afforded to us.
If you’re not concerned about this kind of action, you should be. This dismantling will not only keep your vote from getting through, it very well could be the first step toward the end of the U.S. Postal Service.