If you are queasy about entrusting the U.S. Postal Service with a vastly expanded role in our electoral system in the midst of a crucial election, the following news will exacerbate your nausea. Last Friday, the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) followed the lead of the American Postal Workers Union (APWU) by endorsing presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden. Thus far, most objections to increasing the role of the USPS in the election process involve the inevitable logistical problems that will accompany a precipitous expansion of mail-in voting. The addition of overt partisanship among postal workers to inefficiency renders it obvious that the widespread expansion of vote-by-mail is dangerous.
What we really need to be worried about is the kind of chicanery the politicized USPS routinely perpetrate in states, like Washington, which has had all mail-in elections for years.
Even if we assume that most postal workers are nonpartisan, there is enormous potential for chaos associated with a wholesale increase in absentee voting. The leadership of the USPS has already warned most states that millions may be disfranchised by late delivery of ballots. The Washington Post reports, “The U.S. Postal Service recently sent detailed letters to 46 states and D.C. warning that it cannot guarantee that all ballots cast by mail for the November election will arrive in time to be counted.” As alarming as such warnings are, they aren’t as perilous as a politicized postal service. Trump voters simply can’t trust their ballots to mail carriers represented by unions that endorse his opponent:
On behalf of nearly 300,000 active and retired letter carriers, we are proud to endorse Vice President Joe Biden and Kamala Harris to lead this country as president and vice president.… The Executive Council’s decision to endorse the Biden/Harris ticket was based on the input of our membership through polling, surveys, responses to our candidate questionnaire.… The decision is also partly informed by what we have seen from the current administration with regard to the Postal Service.
This is an excerpt from Friday’s announcement by the NALC, and it should be noted that the decision was “based on the input of our membership.” In other words, it’s probable that most of the people who work in your local post office are Democratic partisans committed to ridding themselves of President Trump and getting Biden and Harris elected. The announcement goes on to attack the Trump administration and demand a vast infusion of taxpayer dollars: “This pandemic threatens the very survival of USPS. Yet … the current administration refuses to provide the necessary financial relief that would strengthen the agency during this pandemic.” The APWU endorsement sounds similar themes:
The American Postal Workers Union’s National Executive Board has voted to endorse Joe Biden for President of the United States. In their decision, the Board recognized his record of advancing the cause of unions, his support for the public Postal Service.… Former Vice-President Biden remains committed to helping end the assault on the Postal Service.… Without an immediate infusion of cash from Congress and the White House, the Postal Service will likely run out of money by fall due to COVID-related revenue losses.
The three items that both endorsements have in common are partisan support for Biden, the none-too-subtle suggestion that the USPS is under attack by the Trump administration, and demands for taxpayer funds to make up for losses incurred during the COVID-19 pandemic. This last claim deserves closer scrutiny. As it happens, USPS money problems predate coronavirus and even the Trump presidency. As the Wall Street Journal points out, “The post office is meant to be self-sufficient, but it hasn’t broken even for years. Total losses since 2007 run to $78 billion, according to a May report by the Government Accountability Office.” Its losses have nothing to do with coronavirus or Trump.
What we really need to be worried about is the kind of chicanery the politicized USPS routinely perpetrates in states, like Washington, which has had all mail-in elections for years. In that state the local postal workers attach partisan campaign material to mail-in ballots. Recently Alicia Rule, a Democratic candidate for the 42nd Legislative District, was dumb enough to post the following on Facebook: “Ballots arrived today! Mine was carefully tucked together with a flyer by our neighborhood postal worker. I am reminded of just how much support we have because even that postal workers union has endorsed our campaign.” Rule is now under investigation by … er … the USPS Inspection Service.
What do the Democrats have to say about this kind of skulduggery? Nada. Instead, Joe Biden is peddling a new “voter suppression” conspiracy theory involving Trump and his evil minions. As Biden put it, “They’re going around literally with tractor trailers picking up mailboxes. You oughta go online and check out what they’re doing in Oregon. I mean, it’s bizarre!” This asinine claim was based on a couple of tweets showing routine removal of standard blue mailboxes in areas where they have been removed pursuant to very low usage. This has been going on for many years, of course. As Matt Margolis points out at PJ Media, the Obama–Biden administration removed thousands of boxes.
Moronic conspiracy theories aside, there are two genuine problems associated with the sudden expansion of the USPS role in our electoral system in the midst of a crucial election. First, the postal service is in no way prepared, as they have formally advised no fewer than 46 states in warning letters. Second, postal workers are by no means nonpartisan. They are represented by unions that have endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden and clearly hope to assist him in defeating President Trump in November. Ultimately, a vastly expanded role in our electoral process for the U.S. Postal Service will result in chaos and chicanery. Never has it been more important to go to the polls and vote in person.