Drastic changes were made at the top level of the USPS Friday. The newly appointed Post Master General Louis DeJoy preassigned 23 postal executives and removed two officials who oversaw the day-to-day operations. The move could have a profound impact on service in rural states like North Dakota. Perhaps unsurprising, those sent to serve rural America remain silent.
Though the changes come at the height of the debate on vote-by-mail, these changes impact so much more than just ballots. It is about necessary prescription drugs being delivered to awaiting patients on time. It is about Social Security checks hitting mailboxes of our elderly neighbors and those living with disabilities. It’s about the small business owner receiving important documents before the crucial filing deadline. The USPS is a service, not a business. It is time we treat it as such.
At one time, there would have been an outcry among North Dakota’s federal delegation. Heidi Heitkamp prioritized rural postal service during her time in the Senate. To his credit, Senator John Hoeven convened a roundtable to discuss timely rural delivery in February of this year. Unfortunately, when postal workers, senior citizens, small town residents, and business owners needed him, Hoeven shrunk back into silence.
Let’s focus on vote-by-mail which is likely the underlying reason for the shakeup on Friday. After months of railing against vote-by-mail, it is reported President Trump is exploring what he can do through executive order to limit votes counted by mail. Unless you’re living in a red state like Florida, the President is absolutely afraid of vote-by-mail.
If ND’s delegation has proven anything over the last two years, it is that they’ll be vocal against Trump making unilaterally broad changes through executive orders. They’d be especially loud when it comes to our democracy. There is no way, for example, Kevin Cramer would echo the attacks on voting by mail since he has admitted he has voted that way before. Surely, there would be an outcry that the federal government was trying to involve itself in state-run elections. Right?
The bottom line is rampant voter fraud through mail-in ballots isn’t supported by evidence. Evidence, facts, and truth still matter. Or, at least to the vast majority it does. Don’t take it from me. Take it from Republican North Dakota Secretary of State Al Jager. North Dakota has allowed no-excuse absentee voting for a long time. 32 of the state’s 53 counties vote by mail. Absentee voting is the same thing as vote-by-mail. Pass it on.
Not once has Kevin Cramer shared any concern about voting by mail. He didn’t question it in the elections he has won. He didn’t question it in the elections he has lost. Why now? How dare politicians like Cramer mislead about the process to create uncertainty and doubt of election outcomes.
That is not to say there aren’t areas that need improvement. Voting files held in the state need to be up-to-date to make sure the correct address is on file for the voter. Voters need to be fully educated on the requirements so their ballot isn’t tossed out. That was an issue in ND until a lawsuit was filed to correct it earlier this year. More secure ballot drop-off locations need to be allowed. And ultimately, the USPS needs to be bolstered up to meet the capacity demands.
Instead of lending support to the USPS to ensure they’re prepared for the influx of mail ballots while continuing to deliver checks, medications, and other vital information, President Trump, Congressional Republicans, and their media sycophants are trying to harm the public service further. It is by no means perfect. The focus should be on improving the service rather than preventing it to properly function during a pandemic.
For a more in-depth look at vote-by-mail laced with comedy and explicit language, watch the below clip of John Oliver on HBO’s Last Week Tonight.