Mail-in voting has become the center of controversy among Democrats and Republicans, with concerns being raised over the funding of the United States Postal Service and potential voter fraud. To understand the current dissension, we must first go back to May, when Louis DeJoy, a Trump ally and Republican donor, took over as Postmaster General and has been implementing cost-cutting measures in response to the USPS’ financial problems (which resulted in a $9 billion loss last year). These measures, including “slowed delivery, removed high-speed letter sorters from commission and a stark warning to election officials that mail-in ballots will no longer automatically be moved as priority mail,” have prompted Democrat criticism, who fear changes that could disrupt the November election. In a letter sent to DeJoy, Democrats assert that the “sweeping operational changes” he is making “could degrade delivery standards, slow the mail, jeopardize crucial deliveries such as prescription medicines and essential goods, and potentially impair the rights of eligible Americans to cast their votes through the mail in the upcoming November elections.” True to their concerns, on August 14, the USPS “warned almost all of the 50 states and Washington, DC, that voters could be at risk of not getting their ballots back to election offices in time to be counted because election rules are not compatible with the time needed for delivery and return of absentee ballots through the mail.” In response, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is now calling for voting on a bill to block the USPS from making any changes that could result in delayed service. Additionally, an oversight hearing for DeJoy scheduled for September has been moved up to next week.
Sticking to his attack on voter ballots, Trump has stated within the past week that mail-in voting results in voter fraud, despite no evidence that this is a widespread problem. He has also tweeted that voting by mail “doesn’t work out well for Republicans,” which many believe is why he opposes the $25 billion request for funding the USPS through a COVID-19 stimulus bill. As the situation develops, it is imperative we maintain the right to a safe and fair election, regardless of what changes must be taken to ensure that.