by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The latest five-alarm fire in Washington is over a supposed plot to disfranchise voters centered on the United States Postal Service.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi states flatly that President Trump is waging a “campaign to sabotage the election by manipulating the Postal Service to disenfranchise voters.” She calls Trump’s appointee, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy “a complicit crony,” and says that his changes, according to the postal service itself, “threaten to deny the ability of eligible Americans to cast their votes through the mail in the upcoming elections in a timely fashion.” …
… As usual in such controversies, the president has said stupid and alarming things that stoke a hysteria that is immune to fact or reason.
There were already suspicions regarding changes to the postal service’s operations when Trump said last week that if Democrats didn’t get the money they seek for the postal service, there can be no universal mail-in voting. But, as Byron York of the Washington Examiner points out, the $25 billion for the postal service in the latest COVID-relief bill passed by the House was meant as a general bailout that had nothing to do with processing mail-in ballots. …
… Given that the postal service delivers almost 3 billion pieces of mail a week, it is going to be able to handle any surge in mail-in voting, a proverbial drop in the bucket. What the postal service warned of last week is that some states have deadlines for mail-balloting that are too close to Election Day to allow a cushion for a reliable delivery, an admonition meant to ensure that mail-in voting works as intended.
That said, it’s not as though the postal service is in robust condition. It was struggling from decreased mail volume even prior to the onset of the COVID crisis, which made its condition even more precarious.