Vice President Joe Biden's campaign has quietly been investigating Postmaster General Louis DeJoy to know which steps to take next in the war on the U.S. Postal Service.
Washington Post columnist Greg Sargent explained Monday that the Biden team thinks that President Donald Trump and DeJoy are conspiring to bring down the post office for more than just the election.
"The obvious one: DeJoy’s changes could introduce chaos into the delivery of mail ballots, potentially disenfranchising untold numbers of voters, particularly in states where ballots that are postmarked before Election Day but arrive after won’t count," said Sargent after a conversation with Biden campaign adviser Robert Bauer, who's a longtime elections lawyer.
"The second goal behind Trump’s efforts is more subtle, but the Biden camp thinks it’s critical: By constantly (and falsely) attacking vote-by-mail as riddled with fraud, Trump and his allies are trying to dissuade people from using it at all, by persuading them their own ballots won’t be counted and by casting a pall of confusion over the whole process," the report also said.
Americans have to request absentee ballots within the next month or so if they intend to vote by mail. But if they're scared away from requesting it, they may not vote at all. With a serious reduction in polling places, that means hours-long lines and the danger of contracting the coronavirus.
“Trump believes that his unfounded claims about mail voting are enough to discourage voters — that he can use the presidential ‘bully pulpit’ to achieve vote suppression,” Bauer said.
Such voter suppression should be illegal, but after a 2013 Supreme Court case, key tenets in the Voting Rights Act were struck down. Chief Justice John Roberts proclaimed that racism was over and the law was no longer necessary.
Democrats are rushing back to Congress to pass a bill in the House that would mandate that there be no changes to the USPS that are outside the norm just months prior to an election. The bill would require the USPS to maintain the same operations for the election as it did on Jan. 1, 2020. Trump's staff said that he would sign the bill, giving the green light for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to hold a vote on it.
"Trump himself has unwittingly confirmed this," Sargent recalled. "When Trump abruptly claimed vote-by-mail in Florida won’t be fraudulent and encouraged voters to use it, he revealed a fear that in a place where he thinks mail balloting will benefit him (senior-heavy Florida), his ongoing attacks might indeed discourage its use."
Trump has claimed that the reason Florida will be a "safe" election is that the governor of Florida is a Republican as is the secretary of state there.
“We are investing heavily in making sure voters understand what he is trying to do and are not deterred by falsehoods,” Bauer said, noting the Biden campaign is waging an effort with a huge TV ad buy. This will include “urging voters to obtain and cast their ballots early, early, early.”
At the same time, at least six attorneys general were huddling this weekend to discuss a group lawsuit. Pennsylvania has already indicated that they are prepared to go after Trump for voter suppression.
The U.S. Postal Service has indicated that they're capable of handling the influx of mailed ballots if their sorting machines are returned. They explained that they process millions of packages throughout the holiday season with no problems. Envelopes would be even easier. The main problem is getting back the equipment Trump took from USPS processing centers.