Lawmakers address the integrity of mail-in voting and the responsibilities of the Postal Service
Ahead of the November elections, focus has turned to the U.S. Postal Service as the nation looks for the safest way to cast ballots during a global pandemic.
Speaking at the Republican National Convention, President Donald Trump was critical of universal mail ballots.
“We cannot have these live, some people call them universal, these live mail in ballots sent to everybody, including mostly people who never asked for them,” he said.
He cited the potential for fraud with millions of ballots being mailed.
“If you have an absentee ballot where you request it, we’re all in favor of that, like in Florida,” President Trump said. “Absentee is good, but other than that they’re very, very bad.”
While the President shares concerns about the integrity of mail-in voting, the Democratic lead House passed $25 billion dollars in emergency funding to prevent delays with the postal service.
During a hearing, the Postmaster General said that mail-in ballots would be delivered on time.
“I want to begin by assuring this committee and the American public that the Postal Service is fully capable and committed to delivering the nation’s ballots securely and on time,” Postmaster General Louis DeJoy said. “This sacred duty is my number one priority between now and Election Day.”
He added it was not his intention to create delays.
“There are any inaccuracies about my actions I wish to, again, correct... First, I did not direct the removal of blue collection boxes or the removal of mail processing equipment. Second, I did not direct the cutback on hours at any of our Post Offices, and finally, I did not direct the elimination or any cutback in overtime.”
Some Democratic members were unconvinced by the Postmaster General’s testimony and reiterated the importance of deliveries during COVID-19.
“During this pandemic, the postal service is a lifeline,” Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) said. “What leader would think, that even the possibility, of slowing down mail in a time such as this is a good idea.”
Connolly also reminded the committee and the Postmaster General that rural residents lead the growth of the Postal Service and should continue to be a priority.
“Rural residents lobbied Congress... for rural free delivery, an innovation that brought mail delivery to even the most distant of homes and businesses,” he said. “The massive grassroots lobby effort brought those with expertise into the Post Office and refocused political leaders on what there elected to do-- serve the people.”
Even without the emergency funding, the Post Office is fully funded through August 2021 under the normal appropriations process.