In the wake of mounting pressure from legislators, state attorneys general (many of whom are preparing to take the Trump administration to court), and advocates concerned that cost-cutting measures enacted by the United States Postal Service (USPS) could disenfranchise Americans casting ballots by mail during the pandemic, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy announced that no changes will be made until after the election. He made a point to assure the American people that:
- Retail hours at Post Offices will not change.
- Mail processing equipment and blue collection boxes will remain where they are.
- No mail processing facilities will be closed.
- And we reassert that overtime has, and will continue to be, approved as needed.
It was also announced that that the USPS would expand its task force on election mail beginning on October 1st. However, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that DeJoy informed her that he has no intention of restoring removed blue mailboxes or sorting equipment and no plans for employee overtime.
DeJoy is scheduled to testify in both chambers of Congress over the next week. He will first appear on Friday at a hearing in the Senate, then move over to the House for a hearing on Monday.
The ability to handle an influx of ballots is no doubt a vital issue but there are urgent concerns that impact American’s in their daily lives. There are so many people around the county who rely on the USPS to receive their medications, social security checks, pay their rent, renew their licenses, and countless other functions. Already in New York, motorists have had problems with receiving timely notices related to cashless tolling. The consequences of this have been severe. Take the unpopular USPS cost-cutting measures and combine them with the Covid-19 related need to renew licenses by mail and it is easy to see how if not corrected this situation could become catastrophic.
There is a reason why establishing the Post Office and Post Roads is a part of the US Constitution. The USPS is a service that Americans of all stripes rely on and must continue to deliver for them.
For some of the reasons why the USPS is struggling financially (decline in first-class mail and the requirement to pre-fund its employee retiree healthcare benefits) and some creative funding solutions (banking and internet utility) click here.