Changes at the U.S. Postal Service are drawing concerns over mail-in voting ahead of the November election. Tens of millions of ballots are expected to be mailed due to the pandemic.
U.S. Senator Gary Peters has opened an investigation into changes in policy at the United States Postal Service.
“Unfortunately, [President Trump] has made it part of his platform to attack the postal service.” — Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence (MI-14)
Peters is the ranking Democrat on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee – which oversees the postal service. During the pandemic, there have been long delays in mail delivery, including absentee ballots.
Peters says some recent changes in policy don’t make sense.
“There are a whole host of things that are happening and we need to have answers,” Peters said. ”Reductions in overtime. Reductions in extra trips by transportation trucks to make sure that mail isn’t sitting in the post office. Processing machines that are being taken out.”
Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, viewed as an ally of Trump, says cost-cutting measures are needed for the service, which loses billions every year. DeJoy has received criticism for his investments into competitors of the postal service.
”Our goal is to change and improve the Postal Service to better serve the American public.” — Postmaster General Louis DeJoy
“We are at the beginning of a transformative process,” Louis DeJoy said. “Our goal is to change and improve the Postal Service to better serve the American public, and I am excited about the opportunities ahead.”
There’s concern from Congressional Democrats that the President’s attacks on the postal service and mail-in voting are attempts to influence the November election. Over the weekend, DeJoy announced a rise in the cost of mailing ballots to voters from 20 cents to 55 cents per ballot.
Michigan Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence (MI-14), a former postal worker, says she’s concerned about politicizing the agency ahead of an election where the millions of ballots will be mailed in.
It’s “the President of United States daily saying how he does not want vote by mail,” Lawrence said. “And unfortunately, [he] has made it part of his platform to attack the postal service.”
Peters said the election isn’t the only concern, citing prescription medicine, bill payments and Social Security checks that travel through mail as well.
“That’s why this has to happen now, and if these policies aren’t working, we need to change it,” Peters said.