Democratic senators warned on Friday that controversial changes to U.S. Postal Service procedures have raised concerns in Washington about the timely delivery of postal votes ahead of the November election.
Earlier this month, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy approved a controversial cost-cutting operation at the USPS, which Congress re-imagined in the last century as a hybrid government corporation. Instead of federal funding, the postal service, which goes back to the Federalist Era, has to support itself through its own sources of revenue, which today is unable to cover costs. DeJoy, who took office last month after 30 years as CEO of a North Carolina-based logistics firm, says immediate and forthcoming changes are intended to address the operating deficits they have left behind. the agency more than one hundred billion dollars in debt.
An Internal document obtained by the Washington Post shows that DeJoy has placed greater emphasis on schedule and punctuality, telling carriers to “get on the road on time, and return on time.” A direct consequence of this, the employees’ note of 10 July states, is that carriers may “temporarily” see “mail left behind or mail on the floor of the workroom”. or docks, ”he adds is“ not typical. ”
DeJoy, whose past as a major GOP donor and fundraiser for President Trump has erased much of the wrong way, portrays the USPS as a “broken business model,” he said in a statement this week that the inability to balance costs with available funding has led the agency to face an “imminent liquidity crisis.” The agency, which conservatives have long tried to privatize, is highly predicted to become insolvent this year.. However, Federal lawmakers are doubts the sanity of the implementation of any drastic change amid the ongoing covid-19 pandemic and only months before the national election.
“Recent concerns raised by constituents and postal workers have brought to light questionable changes under your leadership that are taking place in post offices and processing centers across the nation that could have a negative impact on the delivery of the mail, “read a letter to Postmaster General DeJoy from four U.S. senators on Friday. (The letter was designed by senators Gary Peters, Chuck Schumer, Tom Carper and Amy Klobuchar – Michigan, New York, Delaware and Minnesota, respectively.)
The letter coincides with a Washington Post report describes nation’s “long-day mail backlogs”, said to be “alarming” postal workers and union officials, which the paper describes as awesome that DeJoy’s new protocols could “undermine their ability to vote votes in time for the November elections.”
Already, at least 65,000 absent or postal votes have been rejected this year due to the deadline NPR analysis was found, “often without any fault of the voter.” Although the pandemic greatly aggravated the financial problems of the USPS, the White House in June threatened to vote on a coronavirus aid package if it includes 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.
One Democratic aide told Gizmodo that lawmakers, including those with oversight jurisdiction, have not had a full understanding of what has happened at the USPS since DeJoy’s arrival. The changes were described to them only in ambiguous terms, such as “operational efforts,” and it was unclear under the timeline that DeJoy was working on, they said.
The letter sent on Friday includes seven questions that talk about how little U.S. senators know, such as: “I discussed these operational changes, or some other operational changes, with administration officials outside -Post Office? ” The letter states that DeJoy did not consult “significantly” with any representatives of the postal union or any “other stakeholders of the postal industry.”
“It is essential that the Postal Service does not reduce mail or in any way compromise service to veterans, small businesses, rural communities, seniors, and millions of Americans who depend on mail – including significant numbers that will rely on the Postal Service to exercise their right to vote, ”the letter states.
USPS spokesman David Partenheimer said in an email that the agency was “strongly focused on the efficiency” of its operations as part of a broader strategy to make the agency financially stable. “Of course we recognize that temporary service impacts can occur by redoubling our efforts to comply with current operational plans, but any such impacts will be monitored and temporary by addressing the root causes of any issues as necessary and corrected accordingly, “he said.
Partenheimer said the agency “continuously reviews” its practices and adjusts them, when necessary, “to make sure we operate efficiently and effectively.” He also sought to emphasize that DeJoy was appointed by the Board of the Postal Service of the Governors, and not the president, as others, he said, were falsely reported.
A spokesman for Senator Klobuchar, who designed the USPS letter, said the sudden changes in the agency gave the Minnesota senator cause to be concerned that the integrity of the election could be jeopardized. .
Meanwhile, President Trump put forward the idea on Thursday that the November election could be delayed because, he said on Twitter, the expansion of postal voting due to public concerns about covid-19 causes the the biggest “electoral disaster in history.” In New York Times, the co-founder of the powerful conservative legal group of the Federalist Society, an ally of Trump, called the tweet “fascist,” adding that it was “itself a reason for the president’s immediate behavior again.”
The Sen. Ron Wyden told Gizmodo on Friday that he was growing increasingly concerned about efforts to weaken faith in postal voting and general elections.
“The fact that [Trump] is pushing unconstitutional fantasies like the change on election day making it clear how desperate he is to seize power, “Wyden said.” Every elected official needs to be clear that Trump’s transparent attempts to overthrow Our democratic systems are totally unacceptable. And Americans in the postal voting states can protect against sabotage by voting as quickly as possible, or returning ballot papers to drop boxes.