Brooklyn politicians are calling for the immediate resignation of Postmaster General Louis DeJoy in response to the “systemic dismantling of the USPS.”
On Tuesday, Brooklyn politicians, flanked by postal workers, stood in front of the Cadman Plaza post office during a press conference with a sign that read “#DontMesswiththeUSPS,” and voiced concerns of voter suppression in an election that will have a record number of mail-in votes due to COVID-19.
In parts of the country, United States Postal Service (USPS) mailboxes have been removed and sorting machines have been dismantled in an effort many say amounts to voter suppression, because it will make it more difficult for people to vote by mail.
Since taking over the role of postmaster general, DeJoy announced controversial service changes, reducing workers overtime, removing mail boxes and sorting machines and telling mail carriers to leave some mail behind.
Congresswoman Yvette Clarke said the recent issues with the post office represented an “alarming trend.”
“They are not interested in conducting fair and free elections,” said Clarke, who represents the 9th District of Brooklyn that includes Flatbush, Brownsville and Sheepshead Bay. “That is unacceptable.”
Clarke criticized the Trump administration’s actions, saying it was purposefully appointing incompetent officials to destroy the institution of the USPS.
“These measures amount to voter suppression, plain and simple,” she said. “This administration now asked us to take them at their word when they promised to correct the recent changes. We have seen where trusting the empty promises of this administration leads us.”
Right to vote
Congressman Hakeem Jeffries of the 8th District, which covers sections of Brooklyn including East New York, Ocean Hill, and Bedford Stuyvesant, said defunding the USPS was part of Trump’s, “continuing corrupt scheme and conspiracy to undermine our free and fair elections.”
“There’s nothing but pain and suffering and death that has been amplified by Donald Trump’s incompetence because his response [to the pandemic] has been an unmitigated disaster,” Jeffries said.
“And in the midst of it all, he wants to force the American people to choose between their health and safety and well-being on the one hand and their constitutional right to vote on the other, by dismantling the opportunity to vote by mail. Not on our watch.”
Jeffries said he and Clarke have called on the FBI to investigate DeJoy for interference with the mail delivery, which is a federal crime.
Fight for funding
However, shortly before the press conference was about to begin, DeJoy appeared to back down on making changes to the USPS until after the November election. DeJoy said he was doing so to, “avoid even the appearance of any impact on election mail.”
Jeffries said the move was “wildly inadequate,” and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said that DeJoy’s statements were misleading and would not reverse changes to infrastructure at the post office. Both Jeffries and Clarke said the post office should ensure it would operate at the same level as the start of the year through Election Day.
The pair are going to Washington D.C. on Saturday to vote for a bill that would ban changes to the post office. Brooklyn Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney’s Deliver for America Act would freeze USPS operations at the level of January 2020 and provide $25 billion in extra funding to the agency.
Twenty states have sued the Trump administration over the possibility of mail delays.