As America’s 2020 election draws near, it’s important for us to understand the role that the USPS has in threatening its integrity. Before that, however, we should reflect on our current situation; COVID-19 has drastically changed the course of the president’s term. Donald Trump is currently under fire for his non-socially distanced rallies and controversial statements about the pandemic –– a poll by FiveThirtyEight shows that 56% of Americans disapprove of his response to the coronavirus. In contrast, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his vice-president pick, Kamala Harris, have created a seven-point plan to beat COVID-19, consisting of: offering all Americans regular and free testing, increasing the production of protective equipment, and mandating masks. When it comes to American citizens, the virus has disproportionately affected people of color (including but not limited to Latinx groups and Native Americans), especially African Americans. Many polling centers are being closed down in crowded neighborhoods, hindering minorities’ ability to vote.
However, it’s not the only thing making it more difficult for people of color to cast their ballot. Republican politicians admit to changing Voter ID laws in some states to require proof of a physical address, of which many Native American citizens do not have. Voter rolls are often purged with racial bias towards minority communities –– although it was declared illegal under the Voting Rights Act of 1965 by some courts, it is still perfectly legal in other states to purge voters’ registrations (by sending mail to addresses on voter rolls and compiling a list of the mail that returns undelivered) on the grounds that they do not legally reside at their given address. With many opting to mail-in their ballots (due to incredibly long lines at the polling places that remain open), we must direct our attention to the USPS and try our hardest to stop its downfall.
President Trump is doubling down on his concerns regarding mail-in ballots, stating it will “rig the election”; he and his supporters have even pledged twenty million dollars to further their efforts. New postmaster general Louis Dejoy, a Republican campaign donor who has donated over $1.1 million dollars to the Trump Victory Fund, recently implemented cost cutting measures that left tons of undelivered mail piling up at post offices. The familiar blue postal boxes are being removed at an alarming rate in many states as well. With the election coming up, the implications of this are dangerous. The laws around mail-in ballots are incredibly strict; in thirty-two states, mail-in votes will not be counted if they arrive after the election date, even if the date on the envelope is prior to the election date. At such a difficult time, it’s concerning that votes which mailed in at the right time may not be counted in the election due to the fault of the post office. With such little time before the election, it is crucial for Democrats to fight to save the USPS in order to get their votes in on time. Although these are difficult and unprecedented times for us all, we cannot lose sight of what’s to come, and all do our part to participate in politics and spread awareness of the dangers ahead.