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Senators ’worried change in the post office could hamper voting in November

Postal workers prepare mail for delivery at Kilbourn Park Post in 2020.  May 09  In Chicago, Illinois.

Postal workers prepare mail for delivery at Kilbourn Park Post in 2020. May 09 In Chicago, Illinois.
Photo: Scott Olsen (Getty images)

Democratic senators warned Friday that controversial changes to the U.S. postal service in Washington had raised concerns about the timely delivery of postal ballots before November. Elections.

Earlier this month, Chief Postal Officer Louis DeJoy approved the controversial cost-cutting operation USPS, which Congress envisioned as a hybrid government corporation last century. Instead of federal funding, the postal service, which has its roots in the federalist era, will sustain itself from its own sources of revenue, none of which are able to cover costs today. DeJoy, who took office 30 months later as CEO of a North Carolina logistics firm last month, says the immediate changes and other upcoming changes are designed to address the many-year operating deficit that left the agency with more than a hundred billion dollars. debts.

An internal document A study by the Washington Post shows that DeJoy has paid more attention to schedule and punctuality, telling carriers to “take to the streets in time and return on time.” The direct consequence of this, according to July 10. The notice to employees is that carriers may “temporarily” see “mail left or mail on the floor or docks of the workroom”, which it claims is “uncharacteristic”.

DeJoy, whose past as a major donor to government and President Trump’s fundraiser has been misled by many mistakes, was portrayed by the USPS as a “broken business model,” saying in a report this week that the failure to balance spending with available funding was the result. the agency will face an “impending liquidity crisis”. The agency, which the Conservatives have long sought to privatize, is expected to become insolvent this year. Nevertheless, Federal legislators are questioning the reasonableness of any drastic change between the ongoing covid-19 pandemic and just a few months before the national elections.

“Recent concerns from voters and postal workers have led to questionable changes, led by you, now taking place in post offices and recycling centers across the country that could adversely affect mail delivery,” a letter from four U.S. senators to Chief Postal Officer DeJoy Friday read. (The letter was signed by Senators Gary Peters, Chuck Schumer, Tom Carper and Amy Klobuchar of Michigan, New York, Delaware and Minnesota, respectively.)

The letter coincides with the Washington Post report describes The “all-day long mail backlog”, which she said is “worrying” for postal workers and union officials, who the document describes as fearing that the new DeJoy protocols could “jeopardize their ability to deliver ballots in time for the November elections.”

At least 65,000 abstentions or postal votes have already been rejected this year because they arrived on time, an NPR analysis found “often not through the fault of the voter”. While the pandemic has severely exacerbated the financial hardship of the USPS, the White House threatened to veto the coronavirus aid package in June if it included a money agency with more than 630,000 employees.

The American Postal Workers Union did not respond immediately to the request for comment.

One Democrat aide told Gizmodo that lawmakers, including those overseeing the jurisdiction, did not have a full understanding of what became clear to the USPS after DeJoy’s arrival. They argued that the description of the changes was only ambiguous, such as “operational efforts.” It was not clear what time DeJoy worked.

The letter, sent on Friday, contains seven questions that only address how little U.S. senators know, such as, “Have you discussed these operational changes or other operational changes with administrative officials outside the post office?” The letter states that DeJoy did not “meaningfully” consult with no representatives of the postal union or any other “postal industry stakeholders”.

“It is vital that the postal service does not disrupt postal services or in any way jeopardize services for veterans, small businesses, rural communities, seniors, and the millions of Americans who trust the mail, including a significant number of people who trust the postal service. exercise their right to vote “, the letter reads.

USPS spokesman David Partenheimer said in an email that the agency had “vigorously focused on its operational efficiency” as part of a broader strategy to make the agency financially stable. “Of course, we recognize that temporary service impacts can occur when we redouble our efforts to comply with current business plans, but any such impacts will be monitored and temporary as the root causes of all problems are eliminated and corrected as needed,” he said.

Partenheimer said the agency would “constantly review” its practices and, if necessary, adjust them “to ensure efficient and effective operation.” He also sought to emphasize that DeJoy was appointed by the Board of Postal Service Managers and not the President, as others, he said, falsely reported.

A spokesman for Old Klobuchar, who submitted the letter to the USPS, said the sudden change in the agency had made the Minnesota senator worried that the integrity of the election could be dangerous.

President Trump, meanwhile, suggested on Thursday that the November election could be postponed because a Twitter spokesman said expanding mailing ballots over 19th public concerns would cause “the biggest election catastrophe in history.” Inside New York time, the founder of the powerful conservative legal group Federalist Society, an ally of D. Trump, called the tweet “fascist”, adding that “it is the very basis for immediately accusing the president again”.

Senior Ron Wyden told Gizmodo on Friday that he was increasingly worried about efforts to undermine faith in postal voting and elections in general.

“But [Trump] “Pushing unconstitutional fantasies, for example, by changing the election day, allows us to understand how desperately he wants to cling to power,” Wyden said. Every elected official must make it clear that Mr Trump’s transparent attempts to overthrow our democratic systems are completely unacceptable. Americans in voting states can protect themselves from sabotage by voting as early as possible or returning ballot papers.

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