With the election less than 70 days away, the United States Postal Service under the Trump administration has failed to assure Americans that their ballots will be counted, should they choose to vote by mail. Given that unfortunate reality in an election that will probably have more mail-in ballots than any other national election in the country’s history, it has become clear that Louis DeJoy, in his role as Postmaster General, has only further undermined public confidence in American democracy. In his short tenure, he has proved himself unfit to serve as USPS chief, and he must resign immediately.
Since DeJoy has taken over the post office, the agency has curtailed overtime pay, removed over 600 mail sorting machines, and either locked up or taken out letter collection boxes. These supposedly cost-saving measures have resulted in slowing down mail delivery, potentially disenfranchising voters at a massive scale come November if their mail-in ballots are not processed or delivered on time. While DeJoy has stated that he will suspend any further changes at the Postal Service until after the election, he has refused to undo the damage that has already been done, such as reinstalling any of the dismantled sorting machines.
Beyond the election, DeJoy’s leadership at the USPS has already had real negative consequences on Americans across the country. People rely on mail not only to vote, but also to pay bills, receive paychecks, or refill prescriptions. Just last week, The New York Times reported that prescription deliveries have slowed down to a dangerous pace, causing illnesses or infections to get worse for some patients. According to an Axios-Ipsos poll, nearly 1 in 5 Americans receives medication through the mail, and 5 percent of all Americans have already reported either a delay in receiving their medication or a lack of delivery altogether. Potentially delaying the delivery of paychecks would also add extra and undue financial strain on Americans as they manage their way through the worst economic collapse since the Great Depression.
The Postal Service is an agency that should remain nonpartisan — a standard that is difficult to uphold under DeJoy, a major donor to Donald Trump and the GOP. Before joining the post office, DeJoy was a finance chairman for the Republican National Committee, and he is the finance chairman of this week’s Republican National Convention. He has also been riddled with conflicts of interest, having to divest his stocks in UPS and Amazon upon his appointment, and he still owns a major equity stake in XPO, a USPS contractor, totaling somewhere between $30 million and $75 million.
At his congressional testimony on Monday, DeJoy may well have lied under oath, stating that he did not put a limit on overtime pay. Various reports from news outlets as well as the postal workers union say otherwise. This is simply not the kind of leadership the Postal Service or the American people deserve.
“We can only reach two conclusions,” Representative Stephen Lynch of Massachusetts told DeJoy during his congressional testimony. “Either through gross incompetence you have ended the 240-year history of delivering the mail reliably on time, or, the second conclusion that we could gather is, you’re doing this on purpose.”
Indeed, whether DeJoy is undermining the post office deliberately or because of his incompetence, he must resign from his position immediately in order to allow the agency to reverse the dangerous changes it has made, and to salvage its reputation before millions of Americans opt to use its services to cast their vote. Because no matter the intent, what is clear is that DeJoy’s leadership is doing little more than unleashing chaos at the post office — and on American democracy too.
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