By Jake Johnson
As the House Democratic leadership calls members back to Washington, D.C. for an emergency vote on legislation to reverse Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s disruptive and possibly illegal policy changes, a coalition of progressive advocacy groups is planning demonstrations across the country as part of an urgent effort to remove DeJoy and “save the post office” from President Donald Trump.
The protests are set to take place at post offices across the nation on Saturday, August 22, the same day the House is expected to vote on Rep. Carolyn Maloney’s (D-N.Y.) Delivering for America Act, which would bar any changes to the United States Postal Service (USPS) service standards until the end of the coronavirus pandemic.
“At 11 am (local time), we will show up at local post offices across the country to save the post office from Trump and declare that Postmaster General Louis DeJoy must resign,” said the organizers of Saturday’s demonstrations (#savethepostoffice).
Rahna Epting, executive director of MoveOn, tweeted Sunday that “it’s going to take everyone, on multiple fronts, to save our Postal Service and our democracy.”
Voicing support for the demonstrations, former Office of Government Ethics director Walter Shaub said “you’re either in the last days of this republic or you are going to endure the inconvenience (maybe hardship) of defending it. We have a narrow window to stop a ‘wannabe’ dictator from sabotaging our elections. Your country needs you now.”
The nationwide demonstrations were announced days after Trump openly admitted he is blocking emergency funding for the Postal Service in an effort to hinder mail-in voting. According to the Washington Post, the Postal Service recently warned 46 states that “it cannot guarantee all ballots cast by mail for the November election will arrive in time to be counted.”
Top congressional Democrats demanded that DeJoy testify next week on his “sweeping operational and organizational changes at the Postal Service” that have caused major mail backlogs across the country. DeJoy—a Trump donor with millions invested in USPS competitors—has conceded that his changes have disrupted USPS mail service but called the delivery slowdowns “unintended consequences.”
DeJoy will appear before the House Oversight Committee at a hearing on August 24.
“I hope the Postmaster General comes prepared,” committee member Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.) tweeted Monday afternoon. “I know I will.”
CNN reported last week that 671 USPS sorting machines are to be removed from post offices across the country and the USPS
has also been removing mail boxes across the nation.
“The U.S. postal service is more than just an essential part of our elections, it’s a lifeline for millions of Americans.”
Rep. Diana DeGette.
In addition to alarming postal workers who are experiencing DeJoy’s changes firsthand, the postmaster general’s new policies have sparked nationwide outrage as reports abound of prescription medicine delays, removal of mailboxes in several states, and abrupt cuts to post office hours.
Over the weekend, demonstrators gathered outside DeJoy’s Washington, D.C. condo to protest his actions:
In a statement requesting DeJoy’s testimony at an August 24 hearing, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senate Minority Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), and Maloney wrote that the postmaster general has “acted as an accomplice in the president’s campaign to cheat in the election, as he launches sweeping new operational changes that degrade delivery standards and delay the mail.”
“This constitutes a grave threat to the integrity of the election and to our very democracy,” the lawmakers warned.
U.S. Reps. Diana DeGette (D-CO) and Jason Crow (D-CO) held a press conference this week at the main downtown Denver post office to discuss the rapidly evolving crisis at the U.S. Postal Service and Democrats’ latest plan to address it. The lawmakers were joined by local residents whose lives and livelihoods are being threatened by the administration’s actions to slow down the mail.
“The U.S. postal service is more than just an essential part of our elections, it’s a lifeline for millions of Americans,” said Rep. DeGette. “I have heard from over 10,000 constituents in the past few weeks alone on this issue – many of whom are being directly impacted by the president’s actions. I’ve heard from seniors and veterans who aren’t getting the life-saving medication they need delivered on time. I’ve heard from small business owners who are struggling because of delays in getting the goods they need delivered. And I’ve heard from hardworking families who are struggling to pay their bills because they haven’t received their paychecks. This has to stop.”
“The president’s actions are not only a threat to our Democracy they are direct threat to the lives and livelihoods of millions of Americans,” added DeGette.
Colorado elected officials, Governor Jared Polis, Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet, Secretary of State Jena Griswold, Attorney General Phil Weiser, and Denver Clerk and Recorder Paul D. López this week, held a press conference in the Denver Elections Division’s signature verification room to highlight Colorado’s leadership with vote-by-mail and push back on President Trump’s false attacks against it.
This June, Colorado set a record for the highest-ever turnout for a non-presidential primary, with over 99% of votes cast using mail-in ballots.
“Colorado’s election model is well situated to handle both the delivery and return of mail ballots. While I am concerned about service disruptions and other attacks on the U.S. Postal Service from President Trump and members of his administration, I am confident that Coloradans will have their voices heard in November’s election,” stated Secretary Griswold in a statement last week.
Jake Johnson is a Staff Writer with Common Dreams. The Weekly Issue/El Semanario contributed to this article.
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