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With the election nearing and many parts of the U.S. in the grips of COVID-19, mail-in ballots have become a prominent issue. But President Trump has disparaged both the U.S. Postal Service and the integrity of voting by mail. What effect could his criticism have? William Brangham talks to Mark Dimondstein of the American Postal Workers Union and then Spencer Cox, lieutenant governor of Utah.
Washington, DC – U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Gary Peters (D-MI), today introduced the Protect Our Services Today (POST) Act which mandates that the U.S. Postal Services cannot close any post office facility during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Last week, Senator Manchin asked Postmaster General DeJoy for clarification on reported post office closures across West Virginia and received assurances there would be no closures at this time. However, USPS did inform Senator Manchin that an ongoing review was underway which could significantly reduce facility operations throughout the Appalachian District. Specifically, USPS confirmed that 12 post offices were identified for feasibility studies for potential closures, and another 24 locations were proposed for reduced hours. Despite Senator Manchin’s explicit request for this information, USPS not disclose what locations were impacted, why they were selected, or when a decision might be made, leaving the door open for potential closures in the future.
“Post offices across the United States provide essential services to Americans and serve as hubs for our rural communities. In the Mountain State, they run rural mail routes serving West Virginians who are unable to drive long distances to retrieve their mail, including many of our Veterans who receive their medications in the mail, and support small businesses in the Mountain State who depend on these services to survive. It is unconscionable to consider interrupting these vital services during an ongoing pandemic, especially as millions of Americans, including many West Virginians, will rely heavily on mail in ballots to cast their vote in the upcoming presidential election,” Senator Manchin said. “That is why I introduced the Protect Our Services Today (POST) Act to ensure no post offices are closed in the middle of this crisis. We must ensure everyone has access to crucial postal services, no matter where they live in America. I will advocate for this language to be included in future COVID-19 relief packages and hope my colleagues on both sides of the aisle will join me in supporting this commonsense legislation.”
“The Postal Service is the only carrier that delivers to every address in the country, and it’s especially important for our rural communities who often don’t have any other options to stay connected or receive critical supplies,” said Senator Peters, Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. “As the Postal Service continues to make unacceptable changes that limit its effectiveness, this commonsense bill will prevent the closure of rural post offices and help ensure that services won’t be compromised for rural residents.”
Background information on the POST Act can be found here.
Bill text can be found here.