Four Queens lawmakers gathered in front of the Jamaica Main Post Office Tuesday to condemn the Trump administration for making changes to the United States Postal Service, which they say will disenfranchise countless people in the upcoming 2020 election.
Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Congressmen Tom Suozzi and Gregory Meeks and City Councilman Rory Lancman, accused President Donald Trump and recently-appointed Postmaster General Louis DeJoy of sabotaging the upcoming presidential election by making sweeping changes to the postal service that impact the speed at which mail is received and delivered.
With many people expected to vote by mail to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the changes to the postal service, the lawmakers said, could mean countless ballots get delivered late, invalidating votes across the country.
“Frankly, to me, it’s not even a partisan issue anymore,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “This is about the survival of our democracy.”
For Suozzi, the changes to the postal service, including the elimination of a handful of sorting centers and the removal of some mailboxes from street corners, have negative consequences beyond their potential to disenfranchise Americans who will likely rely on the USPS to vote.
“Last year, over 1.3 billion prescriptions were filled via the mail by the U.S. Post Office. Almost 100 percent of the prescriptions by the Veterans Administration to veterans to the United States of America are filled through the mail. Senior citizens get their social security check through the mail. Small businesses deliver things through the mail. People do legal documents through the mail,” Suozzi said. “Every single American has to be concerned when a fundamental institution that we all rely upon for every day life is being subject to this type of purposeful dismantling and delay.”
As the lawmakers spoke about the changes made to USPS, which has experienced financial hardship for the better part of a decade, DeJoy walked back his commitment to enacting the systemic changes he’s made to the postal service over the past weeks, saying instead the changes will be made after the election.
Schneps Media reached out to USPS for confirmation that the mail collection boxes that had previously been removed would be restored to service, but they did not return with comment.
Two days ago, however, the USPS said it would stop further removal of mail collection boxes would be put on a 90-day hold.
Additional reporting by Dean Moses and Alejandra O’Connell-Domenech.