- Mail deliveries have slowed in recent weeks as a confidant of President Trump took over the US Postal Service.
- With voting by mail of extra importance in the face of the coronavirus, Trump has attacked it as a potential source of election fraud.
- There is no evidence of voter fraud in mailed ballots, nor is there evidence of mailed ballots skewing to one party of the other.
- Trump himself voted by mail earlier this year in Florida.
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In the face of attacks from President Donald Trump, the US Postal Service is seeking to assure Americans that it will be able to handle a surge in voting by mail amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The Post Office said in a statement Tuesday, the day after Trump once again attacked mail-in voting despite having done it himself, that it has “ample capacity” to handle a surge in mailed ballots in the likely event that the US fails to contain its virus outbreak by November.
I fear Republican sabotage of the USPS, including slowing mail delivery, is a Trump strategy to make voting by mail more difficult this fall. Request your ballots and return them as early as you can. https://t.co/LZONq8EPKE
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) August 4, 2020
“The Postal Service has ample capacity to adjust our nationwide processing and delivery network to meet projected Election and Political Mail volume,” the agency said, per CNN, “including any additional volume that may result as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” the agency said in a statement.
Trump’s attacks on the Post Office aren’t new by any means, and the attacks on remote voting resemble his previous unfounded claims of in-person voter fraud. Now, with Trump-loyalist Louis DeJoy as newly installed Postmaster General, Democrats and election officials fear the operational changes already instituted that have resulted in mail delays (the Post Office calls them “operational efficiencies”) could plague the election.
On Monday, the American Postal Workers Union, which represents some 200,000 employees, said the new changes were an affront to the Constitution.
“Postal workers have been serving the ‘vote by mail’ needs of US citizens for generations including for overseas military personnel and their families. We proudly do so as a civic duty regardless of who voters are casting their ballots for,” it said.
“This assault on the US Constitution, our democratic rights and the ongoing attempt to discredit ‘vote-by-mail’ and demonize postal workers is wrong and heads us down a dangerous path toward dictatorship,” the APWU continued.
Voting by mail is legal for some voters in all states, and 34 allow it with no eligibility requirements. In five states, ballots are automatically sent to all voters. Contrary to some Republican claims, mailed ballots do not tend to skew one political direction or the other, The New York Times reported.
But with the virus still ravaging the US, which leads the world in cases, the Post Office and its struggling finances will be front and centre on Election Day. Even Trump seems to recognise those pain-points, which have been years in the making.
“The Post Office for many, many years has been, you know, run in a fashion that hasn’t been great – great workers and everything, but they have old equipment, very old equipment,” Trump said in a press conference Monday. “And I don’t think the Post Office is prepared for a thing like this. You have to ask the people at the Post Office, but how can the Post Office be expected to handle?”