Postal Service backlog creates worry about November election

The U.S. Postal Service is experiencing backlog after changes made by a top Trump donor

(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

The U.S. Postal Service is contending with days-long backlogs that may impact the upcoming presidential election following actions by a major Trump donor.

Postmaster general Louis DeJoy instituted policies that are slowing down the service, The Washington Post reports. DeJoy has reportedly given $2 million to GOP committees in the past four years.

Read More: Trump faces rare rebuke from GOP for floating election delay

New policies that began July 13 include no overtime pay, closing sorting machines early, and a requirement that carriers leave mail behind when necessary as a means of avoiding extra trips.

Although these have been sold as cost-cutting and efficiency measures others believe they are politically motivated. Trump has been vehemently against mail-in voting and postal workers now fear DeJoy’s efforts will make it harder for them to deliver ballots on time for the November election.

Postal service
A mailman wearing a mask loads a postal truck with packages at a United States Postal Service (USPS) post office location in Washington, DC. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

Mail-in ballots are expected to be heavily utilized due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic but recently Trump floated the idea that the upcoming election, in which he and presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden are vying for the presidency, should be pushed back due to possible fraud.

He offered no proof for these claims.

“I’m actually terrified to see election season under the new procedure,” said Lori Cash, president of the American Postal Workers Union (APWU) Local 183 in Western New York.

Mark Dimondstein, president of the APWU which has more than 200,000 postal employees and retirees, told the Post that he shared the concerns that these changes were harmful and possibly politically motivated.

“I vehemently weighed in that this is wrong,” said Dimondstein. “It’s wrong for the people of the country, it’s wrong for the public Postal Service. It drives away business and revenue. And it’s wrong for the workers.”

Read More: Trump floats November election delay – but he can’t do that

Dimondstein relayed that DeJoy pledged that there would be no efforts to undermine the upcoming election.

postal service
Holiday stamps are seen on mail at the U.S. Post Office sort center on December 18, 2014 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

“I plan, and the people of the country plan, to hold him to his word,” the union leader said.

David Partenheimer, the spokesman for the U.S. Postal Service, denied any efforts to slow down the mail. He insisted these new measures were meant to bring financial stability to the U.S. Postal Service which lost $3.4 B in 2019.

“Of course we acknowledge that temporary service impacts can occur . . . but any such impacts will be monitored and temporary,” Partenheimer said.

Democrats aren’t entirely convinced and four senators wrote a letter to DeJoy on Thursday about his “questionable” decisions. It was signed by Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (N.Y.), Sen. Gary Peters (Mich.), Sen. Amy Klobuchar (Minn.) and Sen. Thomas R. Carper (Del.).

Employees are also fearful about the delays and do not believe they are minor setbacks.

Read More: Postal Service running ‘out of cash’ and that may hurt African Americans

“I’m a little frightened. By the time political season rolls around, I shudder to think what it’s going to look like,” said a postal employee in Pennsylvania who spoke anonymously to the outlet.

Have you subscribed to theGrio’s podcast “Dear Culture”? Download our newest episodes now!

Loading the player...