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A shakeup at the US Postal Service is raising major flags.
The Postal Service has been dealing with money woes for years. And the coronavirus pandemic has only made it worse – driving it billions of dollars further into debt. Last month, newly appointed Postmaster General Louis DeJoy announced major changes aimed at giving the org a financial boost. Think: no overtime and reduced hours – even if it means leaving mail behind. He also reorganized the USPS, and nearly two dozen execs were reassigned or displaced. All this has some very worried about November.
Because millions of Americans could be casting their ballots for the presidential election by mail. Postal Union leaders say the changes have already led to backlogs of mail. In southern Maine alone, thousands of letters have reportedly been delayed. At least 18 other states have reported similar delays (see: this and this). A big problem since many ballots may be disqualified or not counted if they arrive too late. While lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have criticized the changes, some Democratic lawmakers say this is all about "sabotage."
What do you mean?
They claim that DeJoy – who's been a top donor to President Trump and the RNC – is making it more difficult to vote by mail. And have pointed out the timeliness of the changes (read: in the middle of a pandemic when mail-in voting is expected to increase). Trump's repeatedly criticized voting by mail. But DeJoy said the changes are about making the USPS more efficient. He called the political accusations "wholly off-base" and said the org has "ample capacity" to deliver election mail securely and on time. But that's not enough for Dem leaders who are calling for a reversal of the changes.
Is that happening?
It's unclear. Yesterday, the House Oversight and Reform Committee introduced legislation to block any changes that took effect this year, saying 'now's not the time.' But while that makes its way through Congress, there are steps you can take to make sure your vote (by mail) is counted. If you haven't already, register to vote. Then, request a ballot (if your state isn't automatically sending you one). And take note of your state's deadlines: in some cases, your ballot must be received before Election Day. Get informed on the issues. And finally, sign, seal, and deliver.
The US Postal Service plays an integral part in many Americans' lives, and it's expected to have an even bigger role this November because of the pandemic. These changes could make its job harder. So make sure you're prepared.
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