Arizona secretary of state accuses Trump of trying to ‘sabotage’ postal service
Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs (D), the state’s top election official, has accused President Trump of trying to derail November’s general election by hamstringing the United States Postal Service (USPS).
“In Arizona, it’s against the law to ‘delay the delivery of a ballot.’ I’ve asked [Arizona] Attorney General [Mark] Brnovich to investigate recent changes at USPS, and whether or not the Trump administration has committed a crime,” Hobbs tweeted Friday.
She added, “Our postal workers have a motto: ‘neither snow, nor rain, nor heat…’ I have every confidence that these couriers will work diligently to overcome this political interference and ensure timely delivery of the mail, including election mail.”
Our postal workers have a motto: “neither snow, nor rain, nor heat…” I have every confidence that these couriers will work diligently to overcome this political interference and ensure timely delivery of the mail, including election mail. pic.twitter.com/t2uzPa7eHT
— Secretary Katie Hobbs (@SecretaryHobbs) August 14, 2020
In a formal letter to Brnovich, Hobbs cites the recent restructuring of the United States Postal Service that has been spearheaded by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, a former supply chain CEO and major Trump donor.
“The effect of these changes, taken individually or together, is an extended transit period for mail,” Hobbs wrote. “The timing of such changes––just months before a major election in which a record number of people are expected to rely on USPS when exercising their fundamental right to vote––would be conspicuous on its own. Taken with comments from President Trump however, it’s clear that something more may be afoot here.”
“In a state where the vast majority of voters choose to [vote] by mail, attempts to sabotage the USPS just months before an election are most certainly attempts to interfere with ‘the free exercise of the right of suffrage,'” she added later.
DeJoy announced the sweeping changes at the beginning of the month. Nearly two dozens postal executives were either reassigned or displaced, including the pair of officials in charge of day-to-day operations.
While DeJoy has said that the changes were necessary, he acknowledged that they have had “unintended consequences” on the USPS’s ability to effectively run.
The reduced service capacity of the nation’s mail service has been put in the spotlight recently as the tensions surrounding November’s general elections have increased. Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, Democratic lawmakers at all levels have pushed for expanded mail-in voting.
NBC News reported that the postmaster general is also taking 671 letter sorting machines out of commission. These machines play a huge role in the timely delivery of mail, as one machine can sort 35,000 letters an hour.
Hobbs isn’t the only state election official demanding answers. Last week, the National Association of Secretaries of State wrote to DeJoy requesting a meeting but had yet to receive an official response from the postal chief as of Friday.
“We view the USPS as a vital partner in administering a safe, successful election and would like to learn more about any planned changes around USPS service due to COVID-19, preparations for increased election-related mail, USPS staffing levels and processing times, and other pertinent issues,” the bipartisan group wrote.
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