The future of the US Postal Service is up in the air. President Trump’s new Postmaster General Louis DeJoy issued a number of overhauls in mid-summer to cut costs which have caused well-documented mail delays nationwide. Democrats claim DeJoy’s directives will prevent millions of mail-in ballots from returning on time. North Dakota’s Congressman Kelly Armstrong, who sits on the committee that oversees the USPS, says Democrats’ claims add up to merely political theater during a hotly contested election year.
“The post office has had a funding problem since well over a decade. Since 2006 we have had a 30 percent decrease in mail. But, the post office is fully funded until August of 2021. There is not a crisis in funding at this point in time anymore than it has already been. You have to remember that it lost $9 billion dollars in 2019,” said U.S. Representative Kelly Armstrong.
Congressman Armstrong’s opponent in the U.S. House race, Democratic-NPL candidate Zach Raknerud, says the US Postal Service is under attack during this critical moment when it is needed most.
“The USPS and it’s services are going to be absolutely vital this election season for the disproportionate portion of folks who are going to choose to vote by mail this year because of the Coronavirus pandemic. So, it’s absolutely essential that we maintain the services that the USPS has provided.”
In mid-Summer, Postmaster General Louis Dejoy eliminated overtime for hundreds of thousands of post office employees, and mandated that mail is kept until the next day if distribution centers are running behind.
“Decommissioning mail sorting machines, switching around the routines of whether to sort first or deliver later, or deliver later or sort first. All of these things are completely upending the process that USPS workers have known for years,” said Raknerud.
Court documents obtained by CNN show that under DeJoy, the Postal Service has removed 711 mail-sorting machines from postal facilities, the highest level in at least four years.
“One of the differences between republicans and democrats, and I like the republican side. When we have something that is really broken, we bring somebody in from the private sector who has understood efficiencies, who has understood how to do these things. It seems my opponent would say the only people qualified to run the post office is someone who has run the government their whole life, and that’s just not the case,” said Armstrong.
“Congressman Armstrong will tell you that we need to run the USPS like a business. Well, I’ve got news for him if the USPS is run like a business then people out in the rural nature of our state aren’t going to get mail delivery six days a week and they’re not gonna get their medications on time,” said Raknerud.
The last day to have your ballot postmarked in North Dakota is November 2nd. Secretary of State Al Jaeger recommends you send your mail-in ballot as soon as possible.
For a full list of dates as well as other information about the elections, visit Your Local Election Headquarters on KXNET.