Senate and House Oversight Committees questioned Louis DeJoy on his sweeping changes to the U.S. Postal Service. What can we expect for mail-in voting?
Louis DeJoy, the Republic megadonor who has supplied more than $1.2 million to the Trump campaign coffers and nearly $1.3 million to the Republican Party, assumed office as Postmaster General June 16, 2020. Since that time, DeJoy has taken sweeping actions to alter our United States Postal Service.
With November 3rd soon approaching and persistently high COVID-19 caseloads, mail-in voting is necessary for a safe and fair election. However, changes within the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) have raised concerns about their capacity to handle a surge in mail-in ballots.
In response to those concerns, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy testified before the Republican-led Senate and the Democrat-led House Oversight Committees. DeJoy, who was only appointed on June 15th, is a longtime Republican mega-donor and Trump ally.
What Was Cut at USPS?
Soon after being sworn in, DeJoy presented reforms to improve the USPS’s efficiency and to reduce its billions in financial losses. The cost-cutting measures eliminated overtime and modified delivery policies. Additionally, at least 19 mail-sorting machines and 700 collection boxes across the country have been or are scheduled to be removed.
What Happened at the Hearings?
During both hearings, DeJoy defended his tenure at the agency, stating he is not trying to sabotage the elections and will suspend all changes, while insisting USPS is ready to handle an influx of mail-in ballots. He blamed COVID-related staffing issues for recent mail delays.
DeJoy also claimed he did not order the removal of blue mailboxes and mail-sorting equipment nor reductions in staff hours and overtime. An internal memo from July 10th, however, suggests this testimony is misleading at best.
DeJoy's qualifications as Postmaster General were questioned in the House hearing, especially his company’s track record of anti-union animus and labor practices. Furthermore, his business ties to USPS-related companies and his status as a major Trump donor represent a clear conflict of interest.
Why it Matters:
USPS Provides Essential Services
Rural Americans and small businesses rely on USPS for a variety of shipping needs. Also, one in four Americans over the age of 50 receive medication by mail.
Potential for Voting Delays
USPS has warned states that it might not be able to meet their deadlines for delivering last-minute ballots. With millions of Americans expected to vote by mail, registered voters should plan to apply for their absentee and/or mail-in ballot as soon as possible to ensure their vote is counted. You can check your state’s schedule here.