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Senators are worried that post office changes could disrupt November ballots

Postal workers are preparing mail for delivery at the Kilburn Park Post Office on May 9, 2020 in Chicago, Illinois.

Postal workers are preparing mail for delivery at the Kilburn Park Post Office on May 9, 2020 in Chicago, Illinois.
Photo: Scott Olsen (Picture of Getty)

Democratic senators warned on Friday that controversial changes in U.S. postal service procedures had raised concerns in Washington about the timely delivery of postal ballots ahead of the November election.

Earlier this month, Mail General Louis DeJ approved a controversial USPS cost-cutting operation, which Congress reintroduced last century as a hybrid government corporation. Instead of federal funding, the postal service, which traces its roots back to the federal era, will maintain its own sources of income, none of which can cover costs today. DeJoy, who last month took over 30 years as CEO of a North Carolina-based logistics firm, says immediate changes and others are coming to address a year-long operating deficit that has left the agency with more than $ 100 billion debt.

An internal document The Washington Post reports that DeJ put more emphasis on timetable and punctuality, telling carriers to “get out on time and get back on time.” The direct consequence of this, according to a July 10 report to employees, is that carriers may “temporarily” see “mail left in the mail, or mail on the floor of the workroom or docks,” which she said is “atypical.”

DeJ, whose past as a major GOP donor and fundraiser for President Trump has been mistaken by many, portrayed the USPS as a “broken business model,” saying in a statement this week that failing to balance spending with available funding led the agency to face an “impending liquidity crisis.” The agency, which conservatives have long sought to privatize, is widely projected to become insolvent this year.. Yet, There are federal legislators to doubt the reasonableness of implementing any drastic changes in the face of a protracted pandemic 19 and only a few months before the national elections.

“The recent concerns of voters and postal workers have caused questionable changes under your leadership, which are now taking place in post offices and processing centers across the country, which could negatively affect mail delivery,” read a letter from Postmaster General DeJoy of four. US Senators from Friday. (This 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 a Washington Post report describing nationwide “all-day mail delays,” which she said are “alarming” postal workers and union officials, who are described in the article as fearing that DJ’s new protocols could undermine their ability to deliver ballots on time before the election. November “.

Already this year, at least 65,000 ballots for absentee or postal items were rejected this year because they were received after the deadline, and NPR analysis found, “often through no fault of the voter.” Although the pandemic greatly exacerbated the USPS’s financial troubles, in June the White House threatened to veto the coronavirus package if it included money for an agency with more than 630,000 employees.

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

One Democrat aide told Gizmodo that lawmakers, including those with supervisory jurisdiction, do not have a full understanding of what has appeared in the USPS since DeJoy’s arrival. The changes were described to them only ambiguously, for example, “operational efforts”, and it was unclear under what schedule DeJoy worked, according to them.

The letter, sent Friday, includes seven questions that answer how little U.S. senators know, such as, “Have you discussed these administrative changes or any other operational changes with administration officials outside the post office?” The letter states that DeJoy did not “significantly consult” with any representatives of the postal union or any other stakeholders in the “postal industry”.

“It is important that postal services do not hamper the mail or in any way compromise the service for veterans, small businesses, rural communities, the elderly, and the millions of Americans who rely on the mail, including a significant number of people who rely on the postal service to exercise their right. voice, “the letter reads.

USPS spokesman David Partenheimer said in an email that the agency was “vigorously focused on efficiency” as part of a broader strategy to make the agency financially sustainable. “Of course, we recognize that temporary consequences of operation may occur when we redouble our efforts to comply with current work plans, but any such impacts will be monitored and temporary, as the root causes of any issues will be addressed as necessary and remedied as necessary. need he said.

Partenheimer said the agency would “constantly review” its practices and adjust them if necessary, “to ensure effective and efficient operation.” He also sought to emphasize that DeJ was appointed by the Postal Board of Governors, not the president, as others said he had erroneously reported.

A spokesman for Senator Klobuchar, who signed the USPS letter, said the sudden change in the agency was a cause for concern for the Minnesota senator that the integrity of the election could be threatened.

President Trump, meanwhile, said Thursday that the November election could be postponed because, he said on Twitter, expanding mailing ballots due to public concern would lead to “the biggest election catastrophe in history.” IN New York Times, co-founder of the powerful conservative legal group Federalist Society, an ally of Trump, called the tweet “fascist,” adding that it was “the very reason for the president’s immediate impeachment again.”

Senator Ron Wyden told Gizmodo on Friday that he was becoming increasingly concerned about efforts to overcome faith in ballots and elections in general.

“The point is that [Trump] encourages unconstitutional fantasies about how a change in election day makes it clear how desperately he clings to power, “Weiden said.” Every elected official must make it clear that Trump’s transparent attempts to overthrow our democratic systems are completely unacceptable. And Americans who are in the state by voting by e-mail, they can defend themselves against sabotage by voting as early as possible or by returning ballots in ballot boxes. “

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