“It appears to me that the made up post office controversy is merely the Democrats setting up a narrative to continue their dangerous game of undermining the legitimacy of our elections as they anticipate [email protected] win in November.”
This tweet sent Monday by U.S. Rep. Jim Banks offers a creative twist in the U.S. Postal Service crisis. In Banks’ scenario, it is the Democrats, not the Trump administration, who are planning to use the Postal Service’s shortcomings as an excuse if they fail to win the national election.
Democrats see the slowdowns in the postal system as part of a plan by the administration to discourage voting by mail, a scenario President Donald Trump confirmed in comments last week.
Some Republicans, at least, see the problem as the potential bipartisan nightmare it could become. That includes U.S. Rep. Bob Latta of Ohio, whose 5th District is just across the border from Banks’ Indiana 3rd congressional district.
Monday, Latta sent a letter also signed by eight other Republican Ohio congressmen and U.S. Sen. Rob Portman asking Postmaster General Louis DeJoy to ensure “timely and accurate delivery of election materials” this fall.
“With the continued uncertainty created by the COVID-19 health crisis and the ongoing national discussions about the performance of the USPS, we urge you to work with Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose to implement procedures to protect Ohioans’ right to vote,” Latta wrote.
Latta is also one of those who recognize that the postal crisis is more than just a question of getting mail-in ballots in on time.
In an unscientific online survey in August, the congressman asked his district’s residents whether they had experienced delays or challenges receiving mail. Some 3,015 constituents – 85.9% of those who responded – said they had.
Under pressure from many sides, DeJoy said Tuesday he would suspend until after the election many of the changes that threatened to slow voting by mail.
But the safeguards and emergency funding contained in a House rescue package are still needed to ensure that the Postal Service gets its job done this fall. A vote is expected Saturday.
Rather than denying the problem or spinning conspiracy theories about it, Banks should be following Latta’s lead in trying to ensure that his constituents don’t become collateral victims of the attack on the postal service. The need to protect reliable postal service goes far beyond the issue of mail-in election ballots. Veterans and retired peoplepotentially missing timely delivery of benefit checks and medications, constituents missing out on time-sensitive business or medical information – these are the constituents Banks should be standing up for.
Republicans and Democrats must rise above the usual partisan battles to help preserve a constitutionally mandated institution that’s important to all of us. Banks could be one helping lead the way.