This morning we will lede with a tweet that I normally would think of as a conclusion:
Politico’s morning email thingie did the hard work for us and brings us a collection of headlines from everywhere:
FROM EAST TO WEST AND NORTH TO SOUTH, this story is dominating local news in a way we’ve not seen any story dominate in some time.
HERE IS WHAT PEOPLE ARE READING ACROSS THE COUNTRY on the front page of local newspapers:Arizona Republic,bottom of the front page:“Postal Service warns 46 states about ballot delays” … Sacramento Bee:“Newsom says USPS changes ‘sabotage’ mail-in vote” … San Diego Union-Tribune:“POSTAL SERVICE WARNS STATES IT MAY NOT MEET MAIL-IN BALLOT DEADLINES” … Connecticut Post:“USPS to CT: Mail-in ballots not assured by Nov. 3 election” … Hartford Courant:“USPS: Ballot delivery could be late” …
… Miami Herald:“USPS warns Florida some of its mail ballots could be rejected” … Tampa Bay Times:“Mail-in votes are threatened” … Atlanta Journal-Constitution:“Mail delays may void absentee ballots”…Wichita Eagle:“USPS removes mail machines in Mo., Kansas” …Baltimore Sun: “Answers sought in delays of US mail” … Boston Globe:“Postal service warns about vote” … Kansas City Star:“Mail machines in Kansas, Missouri removed by USPS” … Star-Ledger (N.J.):“Postal service warns of possible ballot delay” …
… Charlotte Observer:“NC voters urged to request, mail absentee ballots earlier” … The Oregonian:“Leaders blast postal changes” … Dallas Morning News: “Are mail ballots at risk?” … Houston Chronicle:“States warned mail-in ballot delays likely” … Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:“USPS warns ballot delivery at risk”
Congress may have left DC for a freakin’ month-long recess, but seems unlikely that they’ll be gone too long before being chased back by angry constituents demanding they do something, anything, everything about Hair Füror destroying the USPS to steal the 2020 Goat Rodeo.
Obama-era campaign person David Plouffe(!) took some time off from sitting in the Green Rooms of the Village to beg the Dims to cancel the stupid recess, issue subpoenas, spotlight mail-delay victims, and otherwise take steps to place this at the top of the national agenda. Said Plouffe(!):
The Dims have responded so far with… a signed a letter demanding postal service be restored:
Washington, D.C. – In a new letter to Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Committee on Oversight and Reform Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney and 192 other House Democrats today called for the reversal of policies that have worsened the crisis facing the Postal Service and exacerbated a dramatic increase in delayed and undelivered mail.
In the letter, the Members wrote, “[T]he United States Postal Service is a pillar of our American Democracy that is enshrined in the Constitution, which empowers Congress to ‘establish Post Offices and Post Roads.’ The Postal Service provides critical services for the American people: delivering medicine to seniors, paychecks to workers, tax refunds to millions and absentee ballots to voters.
“It is always essential that the Postal Service be able to deliver mail in a timely and effective manner. During the once-in-a-century health and economic crisis of COVID-19, the Postal Service’s smooth functioning is a matter of life-or-death, and is critical for protecting lives, livelihoods and the life of our American Democracy.”
This letter puts them on par with Maine’s Senator Very Concerned. That’s not a good look, Dims.
Okay, so we’re doomed, right? Totally eff’ed in the dark… not necessarily. Our brainiac pals over at Electoral Vote say that there is something the (BLUE) states can do:
The changes the USPS has made and the likelihood that they will disenfranchise millions of voters have not gone unnoticed. Celina Stewart, an official at the League of Women Voters, said: “We do think this is a voter-suppression tactic.” Vanita Gupta, a former DoJ official, said she viewed the situation as “the weaponization of the U.S. Postal Service for the president’s electoral purposes.” Also, it has occurred to top Democrats that the attacks on the Postal Service, which has a 91% approval rating, might itself become a campaign issue and are starting to run ads about it.
In principle, states can fight back, though. Among other things, they can:
- Mail out absentee ballots automatically (like Colorado, Oregon, Utah, etc.)
- Move up the date that all absentee ballots are sent out to September
- Enclose a note with each absentee ballot telling voters to return their ballot by early October if possible
- Change state law to accept all ballots received up to a week after Election Day
- Place hundreds of ballot drop boxes all over the state
- Engage in a public relations campaign to tell people how slow the USPS is and how to deal with it
- Count ballots arriving up to a week after Election Day and deal with the legal and political fallout later
Needless to say, only states that the Democrats control are going to do most of these things.
The WaPo reports that the Dims are picking up on voters discontent:
“Democrats say that President Trump’s assault on the U.S. Postal Service has handed them a new political message in the 2020 election, with a chance to make inroads with constituencies who have long favored Republicans.”
“Those most affected by reports of slowdowns in delivery services include veterans, senior citizens and rural residents who have long voted Republican, arming Democratic challengers and incumbents with a salient campaign issue. Democrats are already blanketing the airwaves, latching on to the opportunity to highlight support for an institution that has a 91 percent approval rating.”
Whether elected Dims can force Trump to restore normal USPS service or not, Lord Damp Nut wants Wee the Peeple to believe that if we vote by mail our votes might not be counted. But he only wins if people are so discouraged about voting by mail decide simply not to vote at all.
Be it resolved to vote no matter what, do whatever it takes. If you are a voter-by-mail, return your ballot the next eff’ing day. If you are lucky enough to have a ballot drop box nearby, get thee hence. If you still have a standard, blue, mail drop box check the status on ballot postal rates and ensure that your ballot cannot be rejected for insufficient postage. If none of these options are available to you, well, be brave, wear a mask and carry hand sanitizer, and stand in a (socially distanced) line to vote per usual.