USPS Controversy Surrounding 2020 Election

The controversy surrounding the USPS and the 2020 Presidential Election is unnerving. This has been an unprecedented year. Americans have been compelled to reckon with COVID-19. Grappling unemployment rates and insurmountable deaths have been at the forefront of the pandemic. Not to mention, this is an election year, so the virus and the U.S. postal system have been quite politicized.

The new postmaster general, Louis DeJoy, has drawn suspicion from Jim Sauber, Chief of Staff of the National Association of Letter Carriers. DeJoy, a Republican, has been described as a crony and has received backlash because of his political ties.

In 2016 and 2020, his fundraisers contributed over $1.5 million to Trump’s campaigns. His family has invested between $30 million and $75 million in USPS competitors or contractors.  His wife, Aldona Wos, has been nominated by Trump to be the next ambassador to Canada. She served as ambassador to Estonia in the George W. Bush administration.

USPSPrior USPS Issues

The Postal Service is self-funded. It is seeking billions in financial aid from Congress. Its money problems stem from changing times. The mail service competition is fierce.  Additionally, USPS is obligated to pre-fund its retirement benefits.

Trump’s goal is to privatize the postal service. He has not been keen on accommodating the failing system. The new postmaster general is not making matters any better for USPS with his implementation of cost-cutting procedures.

New USPS Changes

DeJoy has eliminated overtime for USPS workers. The number of mail trucks has been limited. Hundreds of sorting machines have been removed from postal facilities. These changes have caused significant delays in postal deliveries. In addition to ballots, some people fear not receiving mail-order medications in a timely manner.

DeJoy’s changes prompted a Congressional hearing. To combat the controversial claims involving USPS and the 2020 election, DeJoy agreed to suspend operational changes to avoid the appearance of an impact on the election.

He pledged the delivery of ballots would be given priority. DeJoy also agreed to hold off on other changes until after the election. However, hundreds of mail sorting machines have not been reinstalled. He also refused to reverse his ban on extra trips for carriers to deliver more mail.

Can Americans Trust Their Votes Will be Counted?

To prevent the spread of the coronavirus, many Americans naturally find mail-in voting a suitable alternative to personally placing their vote. Historically, fraud associated with mail-in voting has been minuscule.

However, Trump is undermining the validity of the postal system and mail-in votes. He tweeted in May 2020:

MAIL-IN VOTING WILL LEAD TO MASSIVE FRAUD AND ABUSE… WE CAN NEVER LET THIS TRAGEDY BEFALL OUR NATION.

If Americans cannot trust the postal system enough to vote by mail, and they fear vote in person because of fear of catching or spreading COVID-19, then what choices remain? This debacle is projected to cause some U.S. citizens to forego voting altogether. This is not a viable option. Given the importance of this election, as in every presidential election, people must exercise their right to vote.

Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Utah, and Washington primarily conduct voting entirely by mail. Since 2014, Colorado’s 3.5 million registered voters have voted by mail. The Colorado Director of Elections Judd Choate said:

There’s just very little evidence that there is more than a handful of fraudulent (vote-by-mail) cases across the country in a given election cycle.

People may find Choate’s statement assuring, as well as the fact that in 2018 President Trump, Vice President Pence, and other cabinet members all voted by mail without incident. Over the past 15 years, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross voted absentee 15 times, according to Florida’s voter file.

Your Vote Matters

America is founded on the principles of democracy. Every U.S. citizen has a voice, and their votes matter. They should not allow the controversy surrounding USPS and the 2020 election stop them from exercising their right to vote.

The pandemic will not prevent everyone from physically going to the polls to cast their votes. Those that are courageous enough to vote in person should do so with masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer.

It is uncertain if citizens can trust USPS should they decide to mail in their votes. They may want to consider mailing or dropping off their ballots as early as possible before November. 3, to ensure their ballot is received and counted in time.

Written by Sheree Bynum
Edited by Cathy Milne-Ware

Sources:

The Washington Post: USPS is telling people their mail is being held ‘at the request of the customer.’ It isn’t true.: Julie Zauzmer

Milled: What’s wrong with the mail; Adam Clark Estes

New York Times: Trump Is Pushing a False Argument on Vote-by-Mail Fraud. Here Are the Facts.; Stephanie Saul and Reid J. Epstein

Featured Image Courtesy of Ron Doke’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

Inset Image Courtesy of caren litherland’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

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