Mailboxes cast away and heaped up like so many corpses
Many of us are concerned about the problems with the U.S. Postal Service and the 2020 presidential election.
Trump’s escalating attacks on the USPS are both politically and personally motivated.
Trump can’t abide anything, whether fact-based or not, that he perceives as criticism. His feud with the media, especially the New York Times and Washington Post, is unremitting, because they relentlessly search, find and publish details of Trump’s illegal and immoral activities.
Jeff Bezos owns the Post and is also the CEO of Amazon, so Trump’s animus extends to the online retailer as well as the newspaper and the person who heads both. The mutually beneficial contract between Amazon and the USPS particularly sticks in Trump’s craw, because he wants to cripple Amazon, not let it benefit from a special, lower rate for its packages. Consequently, the ineffectiveness of his demands that the post office raise its rates infuriates him.
Trump’s upcoming bid for re-election provides the political rationale for his hostility to the USPS. He knows that the ease of voting by mail will greatly increase voter turnout, and that a larger turnout will favor the Democrats. This understanding drives his campaign against mail-in voting. In the throes of the pandemic, Trump would force voters to crowd in and outside the polls, exposing themselves unnecessarily and increasing the chance of a new spike in Covid-19.
Crippling the post office would effectively handicap the Democrats. Dirty tricks, like eliminating most polling places in densely populated areas, make voting onerous and suppress the vote. Democrats are mostly clustered in cities, so they would bear the brunt of such tactics.
On Twitter, we are admonished to put the current problems in perspective:
Sheletta Brundidge @ShelettaIsFunny
·I ain’t gone say we ain’t worried about #45’s trying to keep us from voting, but Black folks have overcome much more and still found a way. Folks gotta cast their ballots by any means necessary. Ain’t a dog barking at you, no clubs beating you and no fire, so make it happen!
Straight No Chaser @serioustalk01
Everytime I hear people lamenting that they shouldnt have to risk their lives to vote I think of John Lewis and so many others who did just that. No, you shouldn’t have to risk your life to vote, but we have to deal with what is, as Black people have done for centuries.
Trump won’t approve billions in emergency funding for the post office that would enable Democrats to expand mail-in voting. “Now, they need that money in order to have the Post Office work, so it can take all of these millions and millions of ballots,” Trump said. Without that money, “they can’t have universal mail-in voting, they just can’t have it.” The president made plain his intention to stymie the electoral process. It is up to the states to extend their deadlines or explain the importance of voting as early as possible.
As I write this, mailboxes are being taken away in parts of California, New York, Pennsylvania, Oregon and Montana. Ten percent of the expensive mail-sorting machines at distribution centers have also been removed. We don’t know if they are being moved to other places, abandoned, stored or destroyed.
The officials who are dismantling the Post Office should be cognizant of 18 USC §1701:
Whoever knowingly and willfully obstructs or retards the passage of the mail, or any carrier or conveyance carrying the mail, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than six months, or both.
To be sure, the administration has relented somewhat in reaction to the outpouring of outrage, protests and petitions to Congress. USPS spokesman Rod Spurgeon told NBC News that they will halt the removal of post boxes until after the election.
What can you do, to safeguard the election and make sure your vote is counted?
- Request an absentee or mail-in ballot
- Do not mail it.
- vote.org has all the information you need. Or google the Board of Elections in your state to find out where to drop off your mail-in ballot. It is usually not the polling place.
By following these guidelines, you will not be relying on USPS to deliver your ballot on time. Instead, you can ensure that your ballot is delivered and counted. You won’t have to stand in long lines and risk infection. After dropping it off, find out how to track it online to make sure it is verified. California, Oregon, Washington and Colorado can track your ballot as if it were a package from Amazon.
Take whatever precautions you choose, but VOTE!
To countermand your ballot being sent as bulk mail, put a 55-cent stamp over whatever is printed on the part you mail back and it automatically must go First Class.