For all the Trump-eting about post office failure, fraudulent ballots, and “twelve more years,” voting can still work—unless we give in to his hype and give up on the election. That may be the real goal of the shock tactics employed against the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) over the past two months. I’m not going to give in to this nonsense. I’m going to vote, I’m going to mail in my ballot, and I’m going to make sure that it is counted.
Apart from the long-standing debate over a 2006 law imposing requirements for pre-funding retiree health benefits, the current attack on the post office and the 2020 election includes:
- Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s orders eliminating overtime and banning extra trips to ensure on-time delivery;
- Removing many high-speed sorting machines from post offices across the country;
- Removing letter boxes in many cities;
- Sending letters to 46 states telling them that the Post Office may not be able to deliver ballots on time; and
- Increasing the cost of mailing ballots.
The Trump-DeJoy regime has slowed mail delivery in many places, including delivery of prescription medication to veterans and others, delivery of perishable goods such as baby chicks, and much more. Under Congressional questioning, DeJoy demonstrated his ignorance of USPS operations. He also said he will not make any more changes between now and the election. However, he would not commit to putting back the sorting machines and letter boxes already removed.
Trump loudly and often repeats lies intended to scare people away from voting by mail. Contrary to his misstatements:
- The postal service CAN deliver mail-in ballots. About 138 million people voted in the 2016 presidential election. (Some 33 million of that number voted by mail.) Even if every single voter mailed in their ballot in 2020, that would still be far less than the number of Christmas cards delivered every year—more than a billion by Post Office records.
- Absentee voting, also known as mail-in balloting, is secure from fraud. Each state has its own security systems in place, including verification of voter identification and signatures. Five states – Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Utah, and Washington – already have had basically all-mail-in voting for years.
- U.S. intelligence services state that there is no evidence of any foreign plan forge or interfere with ballots. There are foreign attempts to interfere in the election by spreading false information, especially via social media—but that’s different from interfering with ballots.
- The ballot drop boxes maintained by local election officials as an alternative to mailing ballots are safe. Trump’s scare statement that these boxes “are not Covid sanitized” was deemed so outrageous that Twitter placed a public interest statement on it as “violating our Civic Integrity Policy for making misleading health claims that could potentially dissuade people from participation in voting.”
Trump and his minions want to destroy the electoral system by destroying public confidence in it. They want their followers to believe that anything but a Trump victory is a fraud. They want the rest of us to believe that our votes won’t count. They want everyone to forget that Trump. did NOT win a mandate in 2016, that he lost the popular vote by a whopping three million votes, and that he became president only by a bare majority in the electoral college.
This is the most important election in my lifetime. I’m going to vote, my ballot is going to count, and I’m going to be part of the majority of U.S. voters saying no to Trump and his anti-democratic hate and fear tactics.
Here’s why I know my ballot will count, despite the Trump administration’s efforts to sabotage this election.
First, I will carefully read all the instructions and fill out my absentee ballot as soon as it arrives.
Second, I will mail my ballot early.
Third, I will track my ballot on Minnesota’s absentee ballot tracking page. Tonight, that page tells me that my primary election ballot was counted, and that my general election ballot will be mailed as soon as ballots become available.
Fourth, if by some mischance, my ballot is not counted by election day, I will go to the polling place and vote in person. After voting in person, the unique ballot ID number on my original absentee ballot will be invalidated, so that if it is returned to the election office the officials will not count it.