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Senators are concerned that changes in the post office could hamper the November election

Postal workers are preparing mail for delivery to the post in Kilbourn Park on May 9, 2020 in Chicago, Illinois.

Postal workers prepare mail for delivery to the post at Kilbourn Park on May 9, 2020 in Chicago, Illinois.
photo:: Scott Olsen (Getty Images)

Democratic senators warned Friday that controversial changes in US postal service procedures in Washington raised concerns on the timely delivery of postal ballot papers before the November elections.

Earlier this month, General Postmaster Louis DeJoy approved a controversial USPS cost-cutting operation that Congress introduced as a state-owned company last century. Instead of federal funding, it would feed on its own sources of income, which are now no longer able to pay the bill. DeJoy, who has served as CEO of a North Carolina-based logistics company for 30 years and took office just last month, says the changes will help the agency overcome the years of operating deficits that left the USPS with more than $ 100 billion in debt .

A internal document The information received from the Washington Post shows that DeJoy placed more emphasis on schedule and punctuality and instructed airlines to “hit the streets on time and return on time”. A direct consequence of this, according to the July 10 statement to employees, is that carriers “temporarily” see mail or mail left on the floor of the work space or in the port, which is “not typical”.

DeJoy, whose past as a major GOP donor and fundraiser for President Trump has steered many in the wrong direction, has portrayed the USPS as a “broken business model.” Statement this week that The agency’s inability to reconcile costs with available financial resources has led to an “impending liquidity crisis”. The agency, which the conservatives have long wanted to privatize, is likely to become insolvent by the EU Winter 2021. However, federal lawmakers questioned the reason to implement drastic changes in the midst of the ongoing Covid 19 pandemic and only months before a national election.

“The recent concerns of constituents and postal workers, under your leadership, have exposed questionable changes that are now taking place in post offices and processing centers across the country and can have a negative impact on postal delivery,” said a letter from four U.S. senators to post office masters DeJoy Friday. (The letter was co-signed by Senators Gary Peters, Chuck Schumer, Tom Carper and Amy Klobuchar from Michigan, New York, Delaware and Minnesota.)

The letter coincides with a Washington Post report describe nationwide “days of mail arrears,” which are said to be “alarming” postal workers and union representatives, described in the newspaper as fearful of DeJoys New protocols could “undermine their ability to cast ballots on time for the November elections.”

This year, at least 65,000 postal ballot papers have already been rejected because they were received after the deadline NPR analysis found, “often through no fault of the voters.” Although the pandemic has exacerbated the USPS’s financial problems, the White House threatened to veto a corona virus package in June if it included money for the agency that deals with more than 630,000 workers.

The American Postal Workers Union did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

A democratic adviser told Gizmodo that lawmakers, including those with regulatory jurisdiction, have not fully understood what has happened since DeJoy’s arrival at the USPS. The changes were only described to them in ambiguous terms such as “operational efforts” and it was unclear what schedule DeJoy operated on, They said.

The letter sent on Friday contains seven questions that indicate how little US senators know: “Have you discussed these operational changes or other operational changes with non-post office officials?” The letter claims DeJoy has not ” advisable “with representatives of the postal union or other” stakeholders in the postal industry “.

“It is important that the postal service does not slow down the mail or in any way affect the service for veterans, small businesses, rural communities, the elderly, and millions of Americans who rely on mail – including significant numbers that affect the postal service will be left to exercise their right to vote, ”the letter said.

USPS spokesman David Partenheimer said in an email that The agency focused “vigorously on the efficiency” of its operations as part of a broader strategy to make the agency financially stable. “Of course, we recognize that if we double our efforts to adapt to current operating plans, there can be a temporary impact on service. However, such impacts are monitored and temporarily, since the main causes of problems are remedied and, if necessary, remedied. ” he said.

Partenheimer said the agency would “continually review” and adjust its practicesif necessary, “to ensure that we work efficiently and effectively”. He also wanted to emphasize that DeJoy was appointed by the Board of Governors of the Postal Service and not by the President. like others, he said, had falsely reported.

A spokesman for Senator Klobucher, who co-signed the USPS letter, said the sudden changes in the agency had given the Senator cause for concern The integrity of the election results can be at risk.

President Trump, on Thursday, summed up the idea that the November election could be postponed as the expansion of mail-in ballots would cause “the biggest election catastrophe in history” due to concerns about public Covid-19. By doing New York Times, the co-founder Of the powerful conservative right-wing group, the federal society called Trump’s tweet “fascist” and added that it was “itself the reason for the President’s immediate impeachment”.

Senator Ron Wyden told Gizmodo Friday that he was increasingly concerned about efforts to undermine confidence in postal ballot papers and the general election.

“The fact that [Trump] is Pushing unconstitutional fantasies like changing election day shows how desperate he is to hold on to power, ”said Wyden. “Every elected official has to make that clear Trump’s transparent attempts to overthrow our democratic systems are completely unacceptable. And Americans by postal vote States can protect themselves from sabotage by voting as early as possible or by returning ballot papers to dropboxes. “

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