A postal carrier loads mail in his truck at the San Clemente post office in May. (Los Angeles Times)
La Cañada High School

U.S. Postal Service in financial crisis as election deadlines approach

As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. Postal Service has seen increased demands and had a more essential and pressing role than ever before.

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy said changes to mail service will be suspended until after the fall election, after concerns were raised over the slow delivery of vote-by-mail ballots, according to the L.A. Times.

In April, then-Postmaster General Megan Brennan said the Postal Service expects to lose $13 billion in revenue and nearly $22 billion by October 2021.

Congress agreed to allocate $25 billion to the U.S. Postal Service as a part of the CARES Act in March. But that promise never went through. Instead, President Donald Trump offered $10 billion as loans and included conditions for reform to postal service. But the Postal Service has still not yet received any additional funds. 

President Donald Trump said, in a recent press conference, that he would not be opposed to signing legislation that includes funding for the post office. However, he expressed strong opposition to an expansion of mail-in voting and warned that it would cause rampant voter fraud.

Donald Trump said in the August 13 press briefing, “the universal mail-ins that are just sent all over the place, where people can grab them and grab stacks of them, and sign them and do whatever you want, that’s the thing we’re against.” 

Although, there is no evidence that mail in voting causes widespread fraud.

Due to the financial conditions of the Postal Service, they are being forced to delay mail delivery, decommission sorting machines, and have less delivery rounds. In anticipation of a major increase in absentee ballots, the US Postal service released statements to 46 states and Washington D.C. warning of major disenfranchisement due to slower delivery times. These states include Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Florida, which are swing states that will be key to determining the outcome of the election. 

Many states have urged voters to cast their ballots early because of the possible delays and some have even moved deadlines to ensure that ballots are cast before November 3. Others have asked that the period for receiving and counting votes be expanded for the 2020 election. 

More than 60 lawsuits across states have been filed to change the rules around mail in voting for the 2020 election, according to the Washington Post. However, currently, many states are unable to change deadlines within the current time frame and postal workers continue to be overwhelmed even before the onslaught of mail in ballots arrive.