HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) – Attorney General William Tong (D) said President Donald Trump’s latest move to keep funding away from the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) is un-American.
In order to keep up with expanded mail-in voting come November, Democrats want $25 billion for the USPS in the ongoing stimulus negotiations.
On Fox Business this week, Trump suggested the money should be blocked because of the elections.
He said, “They want 25 billion dollars, billion, for the post office. Now they need that money in order to make the post office work so it can take all of these millions and millions of ballots. But if they don’t get those two items that means you can’t have universal mail-in voting because you they’re not equipped to have it.”
“Gutting the postal service does just block us from voting in this pivotal election and sending in our absentee ballots here in Connecticut, but it stops people from getting their medicine on time, right? Their packages on time,” said Tong.
Tong said there have already been moves to slow down service and he’s talking with attorney generals from other states to figure out if there is any legal action they can take against the president.
The U.S. Postal Service released a lengthy statement Friday. It read:
The United States Postal Service is committed to fulfilling our role in the electoral process when public policy makers choose to utilize us as a part of their election system. We provide election officials who are mindful of our operational standards with a secure, efficient and effective means to enable citizens to participate in elections. We offer a powerful, national communications channel which enables candidates and interest groups to directly reach every home and business for the purpose of informing the public about the issues and policies at stake when they vote.
The Postal Service is committed to delivering Election Mail in a timely manner. We employ a robust and proven process to ensure proper handling of all Election Mail, including ballots. This includes close coordination and partnerships with election officials at the local and state levels. As we anticipate that many voters may choose to use the mail to participate in the upcoming elections due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are conducting and will continue to proactively conduct outreach with state and local election officials and Secretaries of State so that they can make informed decisions and educate the public about what they can expect when using the mail to vote. As part of these outreach efforts, we will discuss our delivery processes and will consult with election officials about how they can design their mailings in a manner that comports with postal regulations, improves mailpiece visibility, and ensures efficient and cost-effective processing and delivery.
Customers who opt to vote through the U.S. Mail must understand their local jurisdiction’s requirements for timely submission of absentee ballots, including postmarking requirements. Voters must use First-Class Mail or an expedited level of service to return their completed ballots. In order to allow sufficient time for voters to receive, complete and return ballots via the mail, and to facilitate timely receipt of completed ballots by election officials, the Postal Service strongly recommends that jurisdictions immediately communicate and advise voters to request ballots at the earliest point allowable but no later than 15 days prior to the election date. The Postal Service recommends that domestic, non-military voters mail their ballots at least one week prior to their state’s due date to allow for timely receipt by election officials. The Postal Service also recommends that voters contact local election officials for information about deadlines.
Additionally, it’s important to note that as a continuation of our ongoing outreach efforts aimed at educating all interested parties about the Postal Service’s mailing requirements and services in advance of the 2020 elections, we recently distributed a letter to local and state election officials and state party officials around the country that highlights key aspects of Election Mail delivery processes — and ways to help educate the public on what to expect when using the mail to vote (please see this link): https://about.usps.com/newsroom/national-releases/2020/0529-usps-provides-recommendations-for-successful-2020-election-mail-season.pdf.
Also, we would emphasize that (as stated in the press release) the letter to election officials was a follow-up to the more extensive 2020 Official Election Mail Kit (Kit 600), which was distributed to 11,500 election officials in March. In addition, we will be sending a letter in the near term to election officials in states that have deadlines for requesting and casting mail-in ballots that under our reading of their election laws appear to be incongruous with the Postal Service’s delivery standards.
Further, the Postal Service’s financial condition is not going to impact our ability to process and deliver election and political mail. The Postal Service has ample capacity to adjust our nationwide processing and delivery network to meet projected Election and Political Mail volume, including any additional volume that may result as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our network is designed to handle increases in volume and deliver that mail in a timely manner. Additionally, the Postal Service has long-standing processes to align workforce to workload, including contingencies to respond to events like the COVID-19 pandemic. The Postal Service maintains steady communications with mailers during events that require specific responses and advises residential customers and business mailers with regard to postal facility disruptions that may impact delivery in an affected area via its USPS Service Alerts webpage at: https://about.usps.com/newsroom/service-alerts/.
The Postal Service has continued and will continue to serve its customers during the COVID-19 pandemic through the delivery of not only Election Mail, but also medicine, essential consumer staples, benefit checks, and important information. For information about how the Postal Service is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, please see: https://about.usps.com/newsroom/covid-19/.
If you feel like your mail has slowed down, contact the Attorney General Tong by email Attorney.General@ct.gov or phone (860) 808-5318.