WASHINGTON DC (CBSMiami/CNN) – The U.S. Post Office says it can handle rain, sleet and snow but what about mail-in voting?
President Donald Trump has repeatedly blasted the service and questioned if problems would arise during the upcoming election.
Now there are new concerns over how the U.S. Postal Service will handle the 2020 election.
“The current issues at the post office alarm every American,” said Sen. Chuck Schumer, (D) Minority Leader.
The postal service warning in a letter to the state of Washington that despite a large influx of mail-in voting across the county this year — the agency would not adjust “delivery standards” to accommodate the state. It urged Washington to use more expensive first class mail to make sure the ballots are prioritized or “risk that voters will not receive their ballots in time to return them by mail.”
“The Postmaster General is saying we should triple the rate of cost?! To vote by mail? What a despicable derogation of democracy,” said Sen. Schumer.
The postal service defended the letter as standard practice saying in a statement to CNN that the agency has been recommending “that election officials use first class mail” for years.
But with more voters expected to vote by mail this year, that could be expensive, while desperately needed federal funding remains out of reach with stimulus talks stalled on Capitol Hill.
The new Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, a Trump fundraiser and ally, appointed to the position in May, has made drastic changes to the post office such has making major changes in leadership and instituting cost cuts that some workers say have slowed delivery.
Critics worry it’s a deliberate attempt to sabotage vote by mail ahead of the election.
“Let me be clear that with regard to election mail, the Postal Service and I have fully committed to fulfilling our role in the electoral process. The notion that I would ever make decisions concerning the Postal Service at the direction of the President or anyone else in the administration is wholly off-base,” said DeJoy.
Democrats are also calling for the USPS Inspector General to look into DeJoy’s finances. New financial disclosures obtained by CNN show DeJoy apparently did not divest millions in stock from his former company, a current postal service contractor. And that he holds stock options in a major USPS customer, Amazon.
The postal service says he has followed all of the ethics requirements but the financial arrangements are sure to bring more questions.
Now, mail-in-voting has become a political flash point.
“This is a thing that will be a disaster like never before,” said President Trump.
With President Trump trying to thread the needle, arguing mail-in voting is a problem, but absentee voting is okay despite little difference.
The President has no authority over state voting methods, but says he’s okay with absentee voting in key swing states like Florida, Arizona and now North Carolina.
“In North Carolina, you can request absentee ballots right now, absentee ballots are great, because you have to go and request them, they want to flood the market with ballots. And that’s a disgrace but absentee ballots are great,” said Trump.
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