Cindy Axne Calls For Postmaster General’s Resignation

Photo by Julie Fleming

Iowa Congresswoman Cindy Axne on Tuesday called for the resignation of Postmaster General Louis DeJoy as the U.S. Postal Service faces an unprecedented funding crisis that has the potential to dramatically disrupt mail services and absentee voting.

“Amid growing proof that these delays are being done intentionally to deny citizens their right to safely vote this fall, and because of a background in state government that truly understands that leadership and decisions come from the top, I believe the first step toward repairing the Postal Service is the resignation of Louis DeJoy,” Axne said Tuesday afternoon.

As Axne was holding the press conference, news outlets began reporting that DeJoy had issued a statement saying he was “suspending” new initiatives, such as scaling back overtime pay, reducing post office hours and closing mail processing facilities, “until after the election is concluded.”

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“To avoid even the appearance of any impact on election mail, I am suspending these initiatives until after the election is concluded,” DeJoy said.

When asked by an Omaha World-Herald reporter whether DeJoy’s statement changed her mind about calling for his resignation, Axne said, “honestly, no.”

“This is a guy who, in addition to implementing these changes so rapidly after him being appointed to this position, has come in and has shown no appreciation for the Postal Service,” Axne said. “This is another example of this administration putting in big supporters of the president into positions of power where they have no experience. He’s the first postmaster general to not even come up through the postal service.”

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Axne said she had “no faith that the current Postal Service leadership can be trusted to undo the damage done.”

DeJoy, a Republican Party and Donald Trump “megadonor” took over USPS on June 15. Since then, DeJoy’s new policies have contributed to a slowdown in mail delivery due to a lack of employee overtime, removing mail-sorting machines from some post offices “and reorganizing or eliminating Postal Service leadership,” according to the New York Times.

In addition to the disruption these changes could bring to standard mail delivery, such as letters, packages and prescription drugs, in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, concerns also have arisen about mail-in voting. The Washington Post reported Friday that USPS “recently sent detailed letters to 46 states and D.C. warning it cannot guarantee all ballots cast by mail for the November election will arrive in time to be counted.” Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate received the letter on July 31.

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President Trump repeatedly has peddled falsehoods about a link between mail-in voting and widespread fraud, in addition to inaccurately stating that Democrats want to institute “universal mail-in voting.” The federal government does not run elections in the United States. The administration of elections is up to individual states and local elections officials. While some states, such as California, Utah and Oregon, will mail all registered voters an absentee ballot for the November elections, no state is sending ballots to all its residents, as President Trump has claimed.

In an interview last week on Fox Business Network, Trump said he opposes $25 billion in emergency funding requested by USPS because it could help bolster mail-in voting.

“They need that money in order to make the post office work, so it can take all of these millions and millions of ballots,” Trump said in the Thursday interview. “If we don’t make a deal, that means they don’t get the money. That means they can’t have universal mail-in voting. They just can’t have it.”

In a tweet on Monday he attacked the idea of local drop-boxes for ballots in an effort to draw a distinction between voting by mail and voting absentee. (Absentee voting and mail-in voting are interchangeable terms that describe a method of voting that does not take place at a polling location on Election Day.)

 

By Elizabeth Meyer
Posted 8/18/20

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