Democratic senators warned Friday that controversial changes in U.S. Postal Service procedures have caused concerns in Washington about the timely delivery of mail-in ballots before the November election.
Earlier this month, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy approved a controversial USPS cost operation, which Congress reconsidered last century as a hybrid government-corporation. As equivalent to federal funds, the postal service, which tracks its roots back to the Federalist Era, will support itself through its own sources of income, none so far as capable of covering costs. DeJoy, who took office last month after 30 years as CEO of a North Carolina-based logistics firm, said immediate changes and the coming of others were intended to solve people worth of operating shortcomings. which left the agency with more than a hundred billion dollar debt.
A internal document obtained by the Washington Post shows that DeJoy put more emphasis on schedule and time, telling carriers to “leave the street on time, and return on time.” A direct consequence of this, the July 10 memo to employees states, that carriers may “temporarily” see “mail left or mail on the work floor or dock,” which it added is “unusual.”
DeJoy, whose past as a major GOP donor and fundraiser for President Trump has been plagued by many in the wrong way, described the USPS as a “broken business model,” a statement said this week that a Inability to balance costs with available funds has led the agency to deal with the “upcoming liquidity crisis.” The agency, which has long sought to privatize, is widely expected to be in vain this year. However, The federal legislature questioning the cleanliness of the implementation of any drastic change amid the ongoing covid-19 pandemic and just months before a national election.
“Recent concerns raised by constituents and mail workers have led to questionable changes under your leadership that are now taking place in post offices and processing centers across the country that could negatively affect mail delivery, “read a letter to Postmaster General DeJoy from four U.S. senators on Friday. (The letter is named after Senators Gary Peters, Chuck Schumer, Tom Carper, and Amy Klobuchar – of Michigan, New York, Delaware, and Minnesota, respectively.)
The letter wrote in the Washington Post report describes nationwide “long-term backlogs of mail,” which it said were “worrying” to postal workers and union officials, described by the paper fearing that DeJoy’s new protocols would “undermine their ability” deliver ballots in time for the November election. ”
Already, at least 65,000 absentees or mail-in ballots have been rejected this year because they arrived in the past hour, a NPR analysis found, “often by the fault of the voter.” Although the pandemic has exacerbated USPS financial problems, the White House in June threatened to veto a coronavirus relief package if it included any money for the agency, which employs more than 630,000 workers.
The American Postal Workers Union did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
A Democratic supporter told Gizmodo that lawmakers, including those with jurisdiction, do not have a complete understanding of what has happened in the USPS since DeJoy arrived. The changes were only described to them in vague terms, such as “operational efforts,” and it was not clear what DeJoy’s deadline was, according to them.
The letter sent this Friday includes seven questions that speak to little U.S. senators, such as: “Have you discussed these changes in operations, or any other operational changes, including are the Administration officials outside the Post Office? ” The letter asserted that DeJoy did not consult “meaningfully” with any postal union representatives or any other “mail industry stakeholders.”
“It is important that the Postal Service does not slow down the mail or in any way compromise the service for veterans, small businesses, rural communities, seniors, and millions of mail-dependent Americans – including significant as relying on the Postal Service. to exercise their right to vote, “the letter said.
USPS spokesman David Partenheimer said in an email that the agency was “enthusiastically focused on the efficiency” of its operations as part of a broader strategy to stabilize the agency’s finances. “Of course we recognize that the temporary effects of the service may occur as we intensify our efforts to conform to current operational plans, but any impacts will be monitored and the causes of any issues will be addressed as needed. and correct as appropriate, “he said.
Partenheimer said the agency “will continue to review its practices and adjust them, if necessary,” to ensure that we operate in an efficient and effective manner. ” He also sought to emphasize that DeJoy was appointed by the Postal Service Board of Governors, and not the president, like others, he said, was falsely accused.
A spokesman for Sen. Klobuchar, who wrote the letter to the USPS, said the sudden changes in the agency had given the Minnesota senator the concern that the integrity of the elections could be jeopardized.
Meanwhile, President Trump launched the idea on Thursday that the November election could be delayed because, he said on Twitter, expanding mail-in ballots due to public concerns at 19 would cause the “biggest catastrophic disaster.” in the election of history. ” Nasa New York Times, the co-founder of the powerful conservative legal group Federalist Society, an ally of Trump, called the tweet “amazing,” adding it was “the very basis for the president’s immediate impeachment.”
Sen. Ron Wyden told Gizmodo on Friday that he was increasingly concerned about efforts to break faith in the mail-in ballots and the election in general.
“The fact that [Trump] pushing for unconstitutional fantasies like changing election day explains how desperate he is to cling to power, ”Wyden said. “Every elected official needs to make it clear that Trump’s transparent attempts to overthrow our democratic systems are completely unacceptable. And Americans in vote-by-mail states can be protected against sabotage by voting as early as possible, or returning ballots to drop boxes. “