Americans must save the post office and mail-in voting from political influence

Mail in voting and the USPS are under attack by the Trump administration

+A+USPS+van+is+parked+in+Sacramento%2C+CA+with+the+words+written+%E2%80%9CWe+deliver+for+you%E2%80%9D+on+its+side+on+Tuesday%2C+October+20%2C+2020.+The+federal+agency+has+come+under+attack+with+budget+cuts+by+the+Trump+administration%2C+politically+aimed+to+stop+mail-in+voting.+The+agency+is+currently+facing+an+influx+of+mail-in+voting+because+of+COVID-19.+This+is+as+Americans+and+congress+are+working+to+save+the+struggling+agency.+%28Photo+by+Irvis+Orozco%29

A USPS van is parked in Sacramento, CA with the words written “We deliver for you” on its side on Tuesday, October 20, 2020. The federal agency has come under attack with budget cuts by the Trump administration, politically aimed to stop mail-in voting. The agency is currently facing an influx of mail-in voting because of COVID-19. This is as Americans and congress are working to save the struggling agency. (Photo by Irvis Orozco)

Irvis Orozco, Staff Writer

Earlier this summer, President Donald Trump, fearing low approval polling numbers for his 2020 re-election, attacked one of the cornerstones of American culture: the United States Postal Service. Trump’s attacks on USPS are meant to stop many Americans from voting in the November presidential election by having his newly chosen, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, order thousands of mailboxes and mail sorting machines removed, as well as large budget cuts and top-level firings in the agency.

This anti-democratic move to prevent voters from voting by mail comes seven months after COVID-19 started, with millions of voters choosing to vote by mail already because of large crowds expected the day of the election and the possibility of their vote not being counted. By and large, the primaries showed a substantial increase of people choosing to vote by absentee mail-in voting this year, according to the Pew Research Center. Even though voting by mail has been proven safe from fraud, the elimination of resources for the post office is a coordinated political move by Trump and meant to alienate voters. 

Protecting the post office and mail-in voting should be a priority for Americans.  because mail-in voting as research points out increases the likelihood of people voting according to research by Stanford University.  The investigation asserts that this is especially true for low-propensity voting groups, including young people, blue-collar workers and voters of color. Instead of trying to eliminate the agency, a priority for the next presidential administration should be to save the financially struggling agency. Trump’s administration’s move came under the guise of possible voter fraud against the president, but these claims are fraught with lies and a belief by Republicans that voting by mail favors Democrats

Studies and research have proven that Trump’s claims of mail-in ballot fraud are unfounded and with no basis. A study published in April by Stanford University, titled the Neutral Partisan Effects of Vote by Mail, concluded that “vote by mail does not appear to affect either party’s share of turnout,” to add the study concluded that, “vote-by-mail does not appear to increase either party’s vote share.”

But still, many Republican leaders and governors are choosing to limit mail-in voting by taking measures to prevent or even limiting it by advocating stricter measures. In early October, Montana Gov. Steve Bullock was able to temporarily halt mail-services cutbacks taken by the Trump administration by having a federal judge agree with him to reinstate mail services to prior levels before mail purges. This move is temporary, so as Americans we must protect the post office from turning into another Trump failed business

Trump’s administration, including Dejoy, has claimed that the USPS purges are because of needed improvement in equipment and better bureaucracy in an agency that has gone under financial mismanagement. The administration has also stated that the agency should be run as a business. DeJoy’s installment as Postmaster is part of Trump’s corruption as DeJoy has made millions in providing private services for the USPS and has an interest in the privatization of the agency. 

To add, Trump, installed DeJoy, whose company recently received a $5-million contract from USPS in another unethical move from the administration. DeJoy was also given a position even though he had no experience other than being a multi-millionaire donor to the president. This was all done in desperation because of the possibility of Trump losing the election to another unlikeable candidate, Joe Biden, by way of the post office service.

But how can an agency that provides a needed social service be considered a business and be stuck in this political game?

In reality, Trump’s ultimate goal is to cause fear and voter suppression by purging and stopping mailed ballots from reaching voters. This mail purge is also a way of preventing states that are purple and can swing either way this election cycle from having their votes be counted. 

So how did we get to this point of an ailing federal agency used daily and needed by Americans about to be possibly purged? 

Historically, the post office has become an integral part of American culture by delivering mail rain or shine. Americans have expected daily mail in ways of letters, medicines, checks, letters, formal government notices and an excess of advertising. This has all connected the U.S. from coast to coast since the time of western expansion in the 1800s by way of the emerging railroad system. 

The expansion and growth of the country have also been achieved by having a fairly inexpensive mail service by USPS. Mail-in voting is also part of a long-standing American tradition and history, as many soldiers stationed in different parts of the states and abroad had the option of sending their votes by mail, starting in popularity since the time of the Civil War and every war since. We as a nation need the post office as a regulator and equalizer and being able to connect to the world right at home.

There are other possible options like voting online, but as the Department of Homeland Security points out the possibility of cyber attacks is open to fraud and interference from state actors including Russia, China, North Korea and in the Middle East. What seems to work is what 5-states have done in instituting all mail-in voting in Washington, Hawaii, Utah, Oregon and Colorado. These states send all registered voters ballots automatically by mail and have had low amounts of vote fraud if any. 

To add to its long history, the post office is the most competent out of all the governmental offices, including the DMV and Child Protective Services, as many Americans know. Internal reports from USPS and congressional research have suggested that instead of defunding the post office that we should expand its resources and outreach by opening the USPS to banking and government micro-loaning especially to help the working class.

Millions of people will vote by mail because of the current COVID-19 pandemic, as people are opting out from going to polling stations and deciding to vote by mail. Voting by mail helps democracy work better and therefore the USPS and mail-in voting should be saved from future presidential budget reductions to allow for a better democracy. As Americans, we must work to help our democracy work and to save one of our dearest and most helpful agencies.