U.S. Postmaster General appears before Senate and House committees; talks voter suppression
Updated: Aug 25, 2020
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy appeared before the Senate on Friday, Aug. 21, to testify about changes to the United States Postal Service (USPS). As election day looms closer, many are concerned about the frequency of delays in mail service and looked to the recent appointee for answers.
Over the past several weeks, people across the country have been complaining of postal delays, a matter that seems to coincide with DeJoy’s appointment to the top USPS office. As photos of locked collection boxes surfaced on the internet and postal workers described postponed pickups, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee met with DeJoy to discuss growing concerns and accusations that the post office was being used to suppress votes in the upcoming election.
The testimony offered by DeJoy implied that many of the concerns around mail delays are conflated. On the retirement of collection boxes, he said the process is both “normal” and “data-driven”. He promised, however, to halt collection box removal until after the election. “When I found out about it, amongst the leadership team, [we] looked at the excitement it was creating. So I decided to stop it, and we’ll pick it up after the election,” said DeJoy. As for the existing delays, he attributes those to changes in the transportation schedule, which limit extra mail delivery trips to cut costs. He further said the decision to decommission mail-sorting machines is due to low mail volume. “The mail volume is dropping very rapidly and especially during the COVID crisis, and package volume is growing. When I spoke with the team when this too got a lot of airplay, we really are moving these machines out to make room to process packages,” he said. When asked by Michigan Senator Gary Peters (D) about plans to reinstate retired equipment, he replied that he had no plans to do so.
DeJoy denied all claims that USPS could be used to suppress votes and promised security of mail-in ballots. “We deliver to 433 million pieces of mail a day. So 150 million ballots, 160 million ballots over the course of a week is a very, very small amount, adequate capacity...if everyone complies with the mail process that we’ve been identifying, there will be absolutely no issue,” he said. Despite being a major donor to several Republican campaigns, including those of President Donald Trump, who has openly condemned mail-in voting, DeJoy made promises Friday to remain independent. While many of the representatives were satisfied by DeJoy’s testimony, apologizing for allegations that his plans were a threat to the democratic process and life-saving services provided by USPS; others remained highly critical of his refusal to communicate and be transparent with the American people.
“Postmaster DeJoy, you answered some of our questions today, and I thank you for that, but there are still many, many left that were unanswered... I’m going to continue with my investigation of the recent delays and postal service practices that have been put in place, and I urge you and your staff to be fully forthcoming with any additional requests,” said Peters.
Postmaster General DeJoy and Robert Duncan, the chair of the USPS Board of Governors, appeared before the House Oversight Committee yesterday. WATCH Postmaster General DeJoy testify before the House Oversight Committee earlier today.(Video Source: CBS News)