Following the appointment of Louis Dejoy as the new postmaster general this past May, you’ve likely noticed some changes regarding the delivery of your mail. Many towns, counties and states as a whole have reported that their mail is delayed or sometimes not coming at all for days or weeks at a time. This should not come as a surprise as there have been many cutbacks within the U.S. Postal Service system causing delays that seem to be getting increasingly worse. With the upcoming election and on-going pandemic, the U.S. Postal Service is even more essential right now than it has ever been and it is possible that these delays may cause many voters to lose their voice.
Although Dejoy’s background and political affiliations may not seem of any importance, there is much to be questioned in regards to what he is doing with the power he has and what this means for our upcoming election. A New York native and North Carolina businessman, Dejoy has made very generous donations to the Republican Party as well as to the Trump Administration, having contributed $1.2 million to the Trump Victory Fund. He’s been in charge of fundraising for the Republican National Convention and has donated millions to Republican organizations and candidates. Dejoy has implemented “money-saving” tactics such as having employees come in later than usual, making post offices close for lunch and even the elimination of overtime. These delays will potentially sabotage our election in November, a claim backed by the U.S. Postal Service Agency, which has informed voters that their ballots may not meet the deadline unless they are mailed in three to four weeks before election day. Dejoy stated that he is “asking elected officials and voters to realistically consider how the mail works, and be mindful of our delivery standards, in order to provide voters ample time to cast ballots through the mail,” in a warning letter reported by The Washington Post.
Trump has not been silent about his utter distaste for voting by mail, stating that he believes it is fraudful and will benefit the Democrats. In a tweet from July 30, President Trump stated that “With Universal Mail-In Voting (not Absentee Voting, which is good), 2020 will be the most INACCURATE & FRAUDULENT Election in history. It will be a great embarrassment to the USA.” He even suggested delaying the election until people can “properly, securely and safely vote.” It is because of this personal opinion that he opposed new postal funding and has risked millions of Americans to be disenfranchised in the upcoming election. Many lawmakers within the Democratic Party have accused Trump and his administration of purposely sabotaging the U.S. Postal Service to suppress voters in the election. Virginia Governor Ralph Northam believes that this is troubling, to say the least, and “is becoming a clear pattern of attempted voter suppression by the Trump administration,” as said in a statement. Multiple investigations have been opened and an inquiry regarding Dejoy’s actions has received a response from the postal service’s inspector general.
In order to avoid voter suppression and possible disenfranchisement at the polls, it is recommended that you find out where your nearest polling location is and if you choose to vote by mail, make sure your state allows it. This information is crucial to accessing the polling stations, so it is important that you find out this information ahead of time in order to prepare accordingly. Be prepared to wait in line and keep a safe distance from others, and come equipped with hand sanitizer and a mask. Keep in mind that if you are in line and your station closes, you are still entitled to a vote and they cannot turn you away. Come prepared to use your voice to advocate for others if necessary and good luck at the polls!