To make it harder to process an expected surge of mail-in ballots, on Thursday, the current U.S. President admitted that he’s starving the U.S. Postal Service of money which he worries could make him lose the election. Trump indicated that the two funding provisions that Democrats are seeking in a relief package have stalled on Capitol Hill. He added that without the additional money, the Postal Service wouldn’t have the resources to deal with a flood of ballots from voters who are seeking to avoid polling places during the coronavirus pandemic.
Trump is pairing the tough Postal Service stance in congressional negotiations with an increasingly robust mail-in-voting legal fight in states that could decide the election. Besides, to invalidate tens of thousands of voters’ absentee ballot applications in Iowa, his campaign joined a lawsuit Wednesday against two Democratic-leaning counties. This followed lawful manoeuvres in battlegrounds like Pennsylvania, where the campaign is determined to force changes the way the state collects and counts mail-in ballots. Though his efforts could face limits, Trump is challenging a law sending ballots to all active voters in Nevada.
On Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court on rejected Republicans who were against an agreement in Rhode Island permitting residents to vote by mail through November’s general election without getting signatures from two witnesses or a notary. According to the Democrats, Trump’s new remarks show that he is attempting to restrict voting rights and he doesn’t want an election to happen. Jena Griswold, Colorado Secretary of State, stated that it was “voter suppression to undermine the safest method to vote during a pandemic, and force Americans to risk their lives to vote.”
There has been an end to negotiations over a big new virus relief package. At the same time, White House and congressional leaders are divided on reopening schools and the size, scope and approach for shoring up households. Democrats want other emergency funds that Trump rejects even as there are some common grounds over $100 billion for schools. Trump said during Thursday’s call-in interview that they want $3.5 billion for something that will turn out to be fraudulent. Democrats in talks with Republicans on the COVID-19 response bill are pushing for a total of $10 billion for the Postal Service.
Louis DeJoy, the Postmaster-General, has indicated that the agency is in a financially untenable position. Last week, DeJoy told the Postal Service’s governing board that the Postal Service has plenty of capacity to deliver all election mail securely and on-time per their delivery standards. Also, Louis said they would do so even though there will likely be an unprecedented increase in election mail volume due to the pandemic. The Postal Service leadership has been pushing to eradicate over time and stop late delivery trips that are sometimes needed to ensure mail arrives on time. However, the postal workers and union officials say these measures are delaying service.
DeJoy has received several letters from Democrats and some Republicans requesting him to reverse his changes and criticising what they say is a lack of openness by the agency. Senate Democrats on Wednesday directed a letter to DeJoy saying postal leadership is pushing state election officials to opt for pricier first-class postage for mail-in ballots to be prioritized. The Democrats wrote, “Instead of taking steps to increase your agency’s ability to deliver for the American people, you are implementing policy changes that make matters worse, and the Postal Service is reportedly considering changes that would increase costs for states at a time when millions of Americans are relying on voting by mail to exercise their right to vote.”
In a letter last month, Jocelyn Benson, the Postal Service warned Michigan Secretary of State, indicated that under the state’s deadlines for casting mail-in votes, the agency might not be able to deliver ballots in time to be counted. On the other hand, David Partenheimer, Postal Service spokesman, added that “certain deadlines concerning mail-in ballots, may be incompatible with the Postal Service’s delivery standards.” He confirmed that they should do so in a manner that really reflects how the mail works to the extent that states choose to use the mail as part of their elections.
On Thursday, DeJoy said in a memo to staff that his policies have brought “unintended consequences that impacted our overall service levels.” He also wrote, “The Postal Service must make a number of significant changes which will not be easy, but which are necessary. This will increase our performance for the election and upcoming peak season and maintain the high level of public trust we have earned for dedication and commitment to our customers throughout our history.”
According to Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., chair of the House subcommittee on government operations, Trump wants to hinder Americans from voting by admitting that he wants to hold up funding for the U.S. Postal Service. Connolly added that it hurts his electoral chances and for an election, he deserves to lose, he’s putting self-preservation ahead of public safety. On Tuesday, Trump requested a mail-in ballot for Florida’s primary election. According to online Palm Beach County elections records, ballots were mailed on Wednesday to both the president and first lady Melania Trump at the Mar-a-Lago resort, which Trump lists as his legal address. According to records, the two voted by mail in the presidential preference primary in March.