An explosive Thursday report from VICE heightens concern around the future of the United States Postal Service as mail in voting presents a safer alternative in the wake of the coronavirus.
According to the article, “19 mail sorting machines from five processing facilities across the U.S. that either have already been removed or are scheduled to be in the near future.” Union officials say they haven’t received direction in regards to a new policy or rationale regarding why the action was taken.
It is the latest concern raised after Louis DeJoy, the former head of a logistics company, was named U.S. Postmaster by the agency’s board of governors in May. Since that time DeJoy has prohibited workers from overtime, instructing that late arriving mail be delivered next day. He has also abruptly changed organizational leadership within the organization.
While DeJoy claims the above initiatives were made to help offset the post office’s long running financial loss, last week, the USPS announced a third-quarter net loss of $2.2 billion. Last year it lost $9 billion, according to NPR. The USPS gains its revenue from postage and services, not from tax dollars. In July the House passed a $25 billion bill that would help sustain the USPS. Trump opposes the bill, even though the amount was a specific request from the agency’s board of governors.
Many are also concerned in regards to DeJoy’s political allegiance as a Republican who donated to Trump’s campaign. As we know Trump is set on attempting to thwart the election by continually tweeting false information linking voter fraud to mail-in voting. He has also openly stated that he is opposed to congress assisting USPS with direct funding.
Ultimately we know that Trump’s brand of voter suppression is a tactic that has always been used to negate the civil rights of millions of Black people and communities of color in America. But the way Trump is getting away with this seems ripe for criminal charges.
The USPS also contributes to quality of life for individuals who receive their paychecks and medication through the mail. Small businesses also rely on the postal service for lower shipping costs.
This week, Congressional members wrote a letter to DeJoy this week demanding that he roll back his abrupt changes as the weeks inch near Election day.
“It is always essential that the Postal Service be able to deliver mail in a timely and effective manner. During the once-in-a-century health and economic crisis of COVID-19, the Postal Service’s smooth functioning is a matter of life-or-death, and is critical for protecting lives, livelihoods and the life of our American Democracy,” the lawmakers wrote according to NBC News.
Black communities especially have to keep an eye on the drama surrounding the Trump administration and the postal service, continuing to use truth to power to speak up about a blatant injustice in an obvious attempt to secure a second Trump presidency.