Dismantling the Postal Service


This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

A month ago, I wrote about the Trump administration’s moves against the U.S. Postal Service. Now it is much worse. Here are the latest developments:

Yesterday (August 13), Trump said he is not going to fund the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) because he does not want them to have enough money to handle absentee/mail-in ballots for the November election. Yes—he actually said that out loud. Just as, back in March, he said that allowing more people to vote would mean that Republicans could not win the election.

While Trump continues to bloviate about fraud in mail-in voting, that is a pack of lies. He has cited zero evidence. Five states have had all-mail-in voting for years, with no problems.

The damage to USPS is already happening, and it is widespread. The Guardian reports:

“Philadelphia residents have reported going upwards of three weeks without mail and postal workers told the Philadelphia Inquirer mail was piling up in local offices. Veterans and employees of the Department of Veterans Affairs have reported mail delays in fulfilling prescriptions. In Minneapolis, USPS temporarily stopped mail delivery to a high-rise building, home to many low-income and immigrant residents, over concern of Covid-19 spread. In April, some Wisconsin residents reported never receiving ballots they requested for a statewide election.”

At the end of July, USPS sent letters to 46 states,  including Minnesota, saying it could not guarantee timely delivery of ballots in the November election.

“The Postal Service’s warnings of potential disenfranchisement came as the agency undergoes a sweeping organizational and policy overhaul amid dire financial conditions. Cost-cutting moves have already delayed mail delivery by as much as a week in some places…”

Trump appointed a new Postmaster General in June. Louis DeJoy is a top Trump donor and deputy finance chair for the Republican National Committee. DeJoy and his wife own tens of millions of dollars in stock in private companies that compete with USPS. Conflict of interest? Absolutely.

DeJoy has drastically limited overtime and has ordered slowdowns in delivery, including banning extra trips to ensure on-time delivery.

USPS is already removing and destroying 969 of its 4,926 mail sorting machines. 746 of those machines are delivery bar code sorters used for sorting letters—and ballots. According to a report in Vice:

“The May document clearly calls the initiative an “equipment reduction.” It makes no mention of the machines being moved to other facilities. And the notice to union officials repeatedly uses the same phrase. Multiple sources within the postal service told Motherboard they have personally witnessed the machines, which cost millions of dollars, being destroyed or thrown in the dumpster. USPS did not respond to a request for comment.”

On August 14 in Montana, last-minute protests temporarily halted plans to remove dozens of USPS mailboxes.

The attack on USPS slows down more than ballots and election results. Writing to the USPS inspector general to ask for an immediate investigation, top Democrats in Congress, including Minnesota Senator Tina Smith, pointed out that “slower and less reliable” mail delivery “threatens the well-being of millions of Americans that rely on the Postal Service for delivery of Social Security checks, prescriptions, and everyday mail of all kinds.”

Targeting USPS has two goals:

  1. To abolish USPS and sell its assets at bargain basement prices to for-profit companies, which will be under no obligation to deliver mail to all people or all communities.
  2. To sabotage and discredit this November’s election.

Act now:

Tell your Senators and Representative to save USPS. Right now USPS delivers mail to every person in the United States. Privatizing the post office would mean that mail would be delivered only where and when it is profitable to do so.

Make your ballot count: mail early or take it to a drop box.

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