Stealing the Election in Broad Daylight: Everything You Need to Know about Trump’s Dismantling of the U.S. Postal Service to Thwart Mail-In Voting

I never would have imagined a scenario in which the U.S. Postal Service would be figuring prominently in the battle against domestic fascism, but here we are.

This past Thursday, in an interview with Fox Business Network’s Maria Bartiromo, Donald Trump essentially confessing that recent cuts made to the U.S. Postal Service were done with the intention of keeping Americans from voting my mail. Explaining why his administration was refusing to adequately fund the Post Office, Trump said, “They need that money in order to have the Post Office work, so it can take all of these millions and millions of ballots… Now, if we don’t make a deal, that means they don’t get the money. That means they can’t have universal mail-in voting, they just can’t have it.

We, of course, had known that this was happening. Back in May, a plan was put into to motion to take roughly 15% of all the mail sorting machines in the United States out of service. And, at roughly the same time, wealthy Trump supporter Louis DeJoy was appointed Postmaster General by the GOP-controlled Post Office Board of Governors. [According to Federal Election Commission records, DeJoy has contributed more than $1.2 million to the Trump Victory Fund, and millions more to the Republican Party and other candidates.] And, since taking the role, DeJoy has already reassigned 23 top Post Office officials and eliminated overtime pay, severely hampering the Post Office’s efficient delivery of the mail. What’s more, photos like this one have been all over the internet in recent days, as mailboxes have started being removed from U.S. communities.

[The above photo was taken in Oregon, where people have been successfully voting by mail for the past two decades without incident. It looks as though mailboxes have also started being removed from communities in New Jersey, New York and Montana as well.]

And this, of course, is important because, due to our current pandemic, people will be voting by mail in unprecedented numbers come November. Here, from a recent opinion piece in USA Today, is a little bit of the relevant background.

…In the last presidential election, 33.6 million people — about 1 in 4 voters — voted by mail. If COVID-era primaries are any indication, that number will explode this November.

In Kentucky’s June primary, for instance, absentee ballots accounted for 85% of all votes. In Michigan, more than three times as many voters have requested absentee ballots compared with the same period in 2016.

Vote by mail has never been more critical to our democracy than during this pandemic. And the Postal Service has never been as politicized as it is today. That is a toxic, dangerous mix.

Trump has made his disdain for vote by mail well known. In April, he called the U.S. Postal Service a “joke” and stood in the way of $10 billion in aid that Congress approved as part of an earlier pandemic relief bill.

This is a democratic emergency. The outcome of the November presidential election will almost certainly be decided by mail-in votes. And with about two-thirds of states claiming they will not accept any mail-in ballots that arrive after Election Day, how those votes are handled once voters return their ballots is among the most consequential policy decisions of the 2020 election…

As Donald Trump admitted as much in the Fox Business interview noted above, I don’t think there’s any way to misconstrue what’s happening here, but I think it bears repeating. The President of the United States, during a pandemic that has already cost over 172,000 Americans their lives, has set out to systematically deconstruct the U.S. Postal Service, thinking that, by doing so, he might be able to remain in power, and avoid facing the consequences of his illegal acts while in office. I think it’s pretty clear what the game plan is; socialize the message with members of Trump’s base that the results of mail-in-voting are not to be trusted, cripple the Postal Service so that ballots aren’t received in time to be counted, and then claim victory on Election Day based on the results of in-person voting, which may slightly favor Donald Trump, due to the fact that his supporters are less likely to do the responsible thing and vote by mail during the pandemic.

All of this, as you might imagine, is illegal. As former Attorney General Eric Holder pointed out yesterday, these moves on the part of DeJoy and Trump are a clear violation of federal criminal law 18 USC 1701, which states, “Whoever knowingly and willfully obstructs or retards the passage of the mail, or any carrier or conveyance carrying the mail, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than six months, or both.”

Oh, and the dismantling of the Post Office for political purposes has had a few unintended consequences, like seriously delaying the delivery of medications to America’s veterans. So, yeah, the Trump administration, during a pandemic, has chosen to dismantle the most beloved government agency of American voters, putting veterans at risk in the process… As my wife just said to me when discussing this, “It’s fucking evil.”

Thankfully, it would appear that people are taking the threat seriously. Not only are there petitions circulating to see DeJoy removed from office, but the USPS Office of the Inspector General (OIG) is launching an ethics investigation into DeJoy in response to a request from Elizabeth Warren. And Nancy Pelosi just said that she’s considering calling members of the House back to Washington to take the matter up in Congress. And, of course, people are increasingly in the streets, demanding that something be done. [Yesterday hundreds of people were outside the D.C. residence of Postmaster General DeJoy, demanding that he step down.]

Two more things, as I still can’t sleep. First, it would appear as though Donald Trump is lying when he says that he hasn’t been in communication with DeJoy. [He has.] And, second, we know that Donald Trump is lying when he says that mail-in-voting is “one of the greatest frauds in history.” As we’ve discussed here before at length, there is absolutely no evidence that voting my mail is anything but legitimate and safe. Several U.S. states have been voting by mail for years with no indication of widespread fraud. In fact, as mentioned here in the past, the President, Vice President and several members of the Trump administration vote by mail, and the President himself has called on his supporters in red states to vote by mail. [From yesterday’s Washington Post: “There’s very little reason to buy Trump’s attacks on mail-in voting as prone to rampant fraud, as multiple studies repeatedly have shown. What’s more, security concerns can be readily addressed, as the nonpartisan Brennan Center for Justice detailed in a report aptly titled ‘The False Narrative of Vote-by-Mail Fraud.'”]

This is sick. We are in the middle of a public health crisis, and the President of the United States is making it more difficult for people to vote safely from home because he sees it as being a threat to his reelection prospects. And people, as a result, will die. Of this we can be sure. And for what? To give Donald Trump an edge come Election Day over an opponent who, according to every poll, is the clear favorite of the American people. This is not only sick, but criminal, perverse and evil.

That’s it. That’s all. Hopefully it’s enough to make you as angry as I am.

Please tell every person you know to pay attention to what’s happening. The future of our democracy depends on our response, which must be decisive and overwhelming. As Walter Shaub, the former director of the Office of Government Ethics, we are now in a “a dead sprint to authoritarianism.”

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54 Comments

  1. Posted August 16, 2020 at 8:04 am | Permalink

  2. Posted August 16, 2020 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    Trump may be turning a considerable number of his supporters against him by doing this. It’s certainly going to make for some devastating campaign ads against Trump and republicans in Congressional races.

  3. EOS
    Posted August 16, 2020 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    There is a higher level of assurance that your vote is counted when you put the ballot in the machine and see the tally increase by one. Your vote shouldn’t depend on an election worker deciding that your current signature is not a close enough match to the form you may have signed 30 years ago when you first applied to vote.

    The changes made by Democrats in recent years make voting fraud far easier. I don’t think absentee ballots should be mailed to everyone on the voting rolls, but only to those who request them. I think that presenting a picture ID to the clerk’s office, with a current address, should be a requirement at least once every 8 years. I think an effort should be made to verify the accuracy of the voting rolls, rather than just declaring there is little fraud with no investigation of potential fraud. I think there should be extra scrutiny of rental properties, since they have a higher transition rate. I think a person who votes absentee should have a way of determining that their ballot was counted, not merely that their ballot was received.

    Even still, the machine counts of votes are not accurate and different counts are obtained each time the ballots are fed into the machines. Human counts are worse, with partisan officials handling/mishandling the ballots. In the Township, the Clerk’s office is way understaffed to handle the increase in absentee ballots, and the envelopes are opened and checked against the voter lists after hours when there is less oversight. The ballots are processed by only Democrats. There isn’t even an observer from the Republicans. It will be far worse in the general election.

  4. Posted August 16, 2020 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    How much have you been involved in the process of conducting elections, EOS. From your comments, I’m confident the answer is “not one bit.”

  5. Posted August 16, 2020 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    I can tell you read a lot of Internet conspiracy websites though, EOS.

    Have you decided whether you’re going to join the birther movement against Kamala? You should.

  6. Wobblie
    Posted August 16, 2020 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    EOS I dont know when you voted last, but signature verification has been a constant at the polls for as long as I remember. When they send the kids out from Hillsdale College to be Republican poll watchers, at my precent, challenging signatures is the chief challenge they make to a vote.
    Straw dogs, voter suppression, violence and good old fashion racism, anything to distract from the on going catastrophe.

  7. Posted August 16, 2020 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    It looks like Trump’s incompetence and corrupt conduct will lose him even the senile senior citizen vote.

    He may reduce his support ultimately to one identifiable voting block…middle-aged, white, mentally-ill men.

  8. EOS
    Posted August 16, 2020 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    When you are there in person, and your signature is challenged, your ballot is considered provisional, and there is a process to verify your status and have your vote count in the days following the election. If your signature is challenged on an absentee ballot, the ballot is set aside, not counted, and the individual is not even notified.

  9. Wobblie
    Posted August 16, 2020 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    We’re likely to see more of these kind of legal actions. Trump and his death cult are holding the economy hostage. Providing liability protection is the American way, no boss or politician should ever be held accountable, right EOS ? MAGA

    https://www.stltoday.com/business/local/illinois-meatpacking-plant-sued-after-covid-19-death/article_be8cb48f-f80a-5867-ace0-6fe504cd5698.html

  10. Wobblie
    Posted August 16, 2020 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    Oh by the way, when was a “provisional” ballot ever counted in vote totals ?

  11. EOS
    Posted August 16, 2020 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    Provisional ballots are either disqualified or verified and counted at the county level. A portion has been counted in every election since the law took effect.

  12. Frosted Flakes
    Posted August 16, 2020 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

    How about this. If ColuMbo explains the how and why of his 3 years of “Russia Russia Russia” conspiracy theories he pushed, then I will sincerely try to entertain the idea that he is not pushing more nonsense. For real. It will be a trade. ColuMbo must realize he has negative credibility measured in the thousands at this point. I am willing to wipe the slate clean with an honest gesture on his part.

    I did not read ColuMbo’s post. I have read other places that the reduction of machines was planned before the early spring (I think). I also read the reduction of sorting machines was doubtful to create any issue whatsoever….

  13. Frosted Flakes
    Posted August 16, 2020 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

    ColuMbo could highlight one of his old Russia posts and say something like “yeah, what was I thinking? this did not age well. Haha.” Even a small gesture like that would be huge and it might even be enough to get a person like me to not assume the assume the above post is just more conspiracy theory nonsense.

  14. Wobblie
    Posted August 16, 2020 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

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  15. EOS
    Posted August 16, 2020 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

    https://www.mlive.com/public-interest/2020/08/most-of-michigans-rejected-august-primary-absentee-ballots-had-signature-late-arrival-issues.html

    864 dead persons voted in the primary in Michigan.

  16. EOS
    Posted August 16, 2020 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

    787 had signatures that the clerks didn’t like.

  17. Posted August 16, 2020 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

    EOS, are you suggesting the 864 ballots were rejected because the voter was dead and couldn’t have filled out the ballot, or they died after they filled out the ballot but before Election Day?

  18. Posted August 16, 2020 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

    EOS: “787 had signatures that the clerks didn’t like.”

    I believe it’s a canvassing board of two Democrats and two Republicans who make the determination, not the Clerk.

    I have served on such a canvassing board before. We had to all agree to take any action such as disqualifying a ballot.

  19. Posted August 16, 2020 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

    Yeah, I believe the “864 dead persons voted in the primary in Michigan” EOS mentions were people who voted by mail, but died before the date of the primary. If so, there’s absolutely nothing illegal about it.

    As for the “I want to invite YOU to be my special guest at an upcoming event” emails from Trump, they’re a riot. His campaign has done this dozens of times — offered to chose donors at random for all-expenses-paid trips to meet the President — and they’ve never once actually done it. People apparently keep falling for it, though.

  20. Posted August 16, 2020 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

    From Columbus, Ohio:

  21. Anonymous
    Posted August 16, 2020 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

    From Politico: “Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Democratic leaders will summon the House back in session this coming week to confront President Donald Trump’s attempts to undermine the U.S. Postal Service, she announced Sunday night. The House is expected to vote as early as Saturday, Aug. 22, on a proposal to block the Trump administration’s plan for overhauling the Postal Service. This is weeks earlier than Pelosi and the House Democratic leaders had originally planned to return to Washington. But the revised House schedule comes amid a national uproar over a crisis within the Postal Service ahead of a national election that will see an unprecedented number of mail-in ballots.”

    https://www.politico.com/news/2020/08/16/pelosi-house-vacation-postal-service-396627

  22. EOS
    Posted August 16, 2020 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

    So Robert and Mark think that 864 persons filled out their absentee ballots on their death beds, but just couldn’t hang on long enough to see who won the primary. Or maybe some family member helped them fill out their ballots while they were taking their last breaths on a ventilator in the icu? Maybe they were in already in a coma?

  23. Posted August 17, 2020 at 5:54 am | Permalink

    EOS, there have been times in the past when this issue was brought up, and it turned out that the votes cast by people who were determined to be dead on Election Day, had been alive when they cast their ballot.

    We’ve even had exchanges on this topic here on Mark’s blog in the past.

    We may be able to get the names of those 864 voters who were determined to be dead by Election Day. Then we can check their date of death against the date filled out on their ballot.

    I can ask Jocelyn Benson about this and get back here with what I can find out.

  24. Posted August 17, 2020 at 5:59 am | Permalink

    I’ll also see if I can get official verification that ballots are determined to be invalid by a bipartisan board of canvassers.

    You need to get out and involved in things so you can have some real-world understanding, EOS. Reading conspiracy websites isn’t sufficient for developing a real understanding of anything. Look at HW.

  25. EOS
    Posted August 17, 2020 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    The number of dead voters came from mlive. I posted the link. Not a good news source but not usually considered a conspiracy site. The issue isn’t whether or not they were dead on Election Day, but whether they were cognizant of voting.

    It was better when you joked occasionally. Why do you support a candidate that rarely leaves the basement? Do you think he has a real understanding of world affairs?

  26. Conspiracy Connie
    Posted August 17, 2020 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    I liked you better, EOS, when you were assuring people that Hillary Clinton would be dead within in months of the 2016 election from a serious neurological disease.

  27. EOS
    Posted August 17, 2020 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    CC,

    Do you think Joe will pick Hillary for Sec. of State again? Will it be a two-for?

  28. EOS
    Posted August 17, 2020 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    And can you ask your friend Jocelyn if it would be possible for the canvassers to notify the voter when they determine that their signature has changed too much, in order to give the person a chance to verify their legitimacy to vote?

  29. Posted August 17, 2020 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    EOS: “The number of dead voters came from mlive. I posted the link. Not a good news source but not usually considered a conspiracy site. The issue isn’t whether or not they were dead on Election Day, but whether they were cognizant of voting.”

    You’re wrong, EOS. This has come up here before in other elections. At that time we discussed it and shared links to further details. I thought you were part of that discussion. Maybe you weren’t.

    EOS: “Why do you support a candidate that rarely leaves the basement?”

    He’s not in any basement. Did you mean that as a joke or as a lie? It difficult to tell with you.

    EOS: “Do you think he has a real understanding of world affairs”

    His understanding of world affairs is far beyond Trump’s. That’s very clear. I would say his understanding of world affairs is well beyond yours or mine as well. Are you really so delusional that you can’t tell a guy who’s been a US Senator for decades and a Vice President for 8 years knows more about such things than you do?

  30. Posted August 17, 2020 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    EOS: “And can you ask your friend Jocelyn if it would be possible for the canvassers to notify the voter when they determine that their signature has changed too much, in order to give the person a chance to verify their legitimacy to vote?”

    I will inquire regarding that. But I believe voters are notified of any action regarding their ballot.

  31. Posted August 17, 2020 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    EOS, claims in the past regarding dead people voting turned out to be primarily instances as Mark described, where voters filled out an absentee ballot early and sent it in only to pass away before the counting on Election Day. Do you remember the discussion a while back we had here on this blog regarding that issue?

  32. Posted August 17, 2020 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    I think it is important to remember that the GOP is doing everything in their power to make voting in person harder too. Then, when people decide to vote by mail because they don’t want to wait HOURS in line during COVID, they will have to cheat that way too. Deplorable!

  33. EOS
    Posted August 17, 2020 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    No, I don’t recall participating in that discussion. I’m not saying that it didn’t happen, I just don’t recall it. I vaguely recall discussing whether competency and rational thought were a necessary prerequisite to vote. This was in response to a candidate for Ypsilanti City Council who collected all the absentee ballots for aged and dementia patients. I know you think fraud doesn’t happen, but she resigned in lieu of criminal charges. So you can check the historical records, but there is documented fraud using absentee ballots in the City of Ypsilanti.

    I saw the story in MLive recently and shared the link, as it seemed relevant to your discussion with HW. If it is wrong, then Mlive is wrong. They reported that the ballots were rejected because the persons were dead. I am not able to fact check them from the bunker. I don’t doubt that the Secretary of State can crosscheck death certificates with voter rolls. It is probable that they were alive when the ballots were mailed, and also likely, at least for a portion, that the voting was done for them without their participation.

  34. EOS
    Posted August 17, 2020 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    I think it is important to remember that the Democrats are doing everything in their power to facilitate fraudulent voting.

  35. EOS
    Posted August 17, 2020 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    It’s OK to stand in lines at the grocery store, and to stand shoulder to shoulder for hours without masks when you riot in the streets, but can’t wait in a line outside a building with masks on and social distancing for something as critical as electing a president?

  36. Anonymous
    Posted August 17, 2020 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    When I go to the grocery store, there are multiple checkouts and not too many people. If I’m uncomfortable, then I go back another day. What would it be like if everybody had to do their shopping once every four years with only two registers for the entire region?

  37. Posted August 17, 2020 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

    EOS, that is just a straight-up lie. It is true that the GOP is lying and saying that they are worried about fraud but really they want to keep people they think might vote Dem from voting. Mostly, as usual they are targeting black and poor people. No one wants fraudulent voting. Luckily we already know from the 5 states which have all mail-in voting, that it can be done well and with little fraud.

  38. Wobblie
    Posted August 17, 2020 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

    This did not take very long. September is going to be an absolute trumpvirus shit show. Its going to take a war to distract people from the catastrophe. MAGA

    https://www.cnn.com/2020/08/17/us/coronavirus-college-university/index.html?fbclid=IwAR0qcJ401x1JcX_aST3ZMu6k0ERz8yYcNv3-iD9dqbMnlhzfG-rBHG9n48k

  39. Anonymous
    Posted August 18, 2020 at 3:02 am | Permalink

    https://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/512427-covid-19-now-no-3-cause-of-death-in-us?amp

  40. EOS
    Posted August 18, 2020 at 6:17 am | Permalink

    Anonymous,

    It would be the 4th leading cause of death. Abortion kills more than 1 million a year. Black lives are especially impacted. But for some reason, those Black lives don’t seem to matter to progressives.

  41. Wobblie
    Posted August 18, 2020 at 6:43 am | Permalink

    Im with you EOS. A million dead fetuses deserve a million dead seniors it is death cult justice at its best. MAGA

  42. Wobblie
    Posted August 18, 2020 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    It is easy to forget that four years ago crime was at an historic low level (10 years of steady decline). Trump has made crime an American thing again. MAGA

  43. Wobblie
    Posted August 18, 2020 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    Nothing wrong with demonizing and terrorizing a 10 year old, eh EOS. 4 more years of the leader and that evil child murderer will spend the rest of her life in prison, along with the doctors. MAGA

    https://friendlyatheist.patheos.com/2020/08/17/brazilian-fundamentalists-blocked-a-10-y-o-rape-victim-from-getting-an-abortion/?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=facebook&fbclid=IwAR2APJAB4P0gwUd5TlYOnlsOUmBUkbWSmB2yeMoBviJYTkDNyz31l05ctl8

  44. Anonymous
    Posted August 18, 2020 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    EOS you must have been a really fun parent.

  45. Wobblie
    Posted August 18, 2020 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    Another example of death cult competency in running a government. It is interesting how all the incompetence always results in under counting the sick and dead. MAGA. in another four years no one will be reported as having died. Good thing we can count on a death cult run census undercounting the living. MAGA

    https://omaha.com/livewellnebraska/health/horrifying-data-glitch-skews-key-iowa-coronavirus-figures-downplaying-severity-of-outbreak/article_ea06bc83-ee9d-56f1-969d-7e7e5a04aa87.html#tracking-source=home-top-story-1

  46. NBC News
    Posted August 18, 2020 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

    BREAKING: USPS will suspend any policy or operational changes until after the 2020 election, Postmaster General DeJoy says. https://nbcnews.to/320JXYY

    Activism works, people. Don’t stop.

  47. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted August 18, 2020 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

    They always remove mailboxes. In 2016 it was noted that some 14,000 of them had been removed in five years. Pretty wild how you scream conspiracy theory about true knowledge but glom on to every anti-Trump HOAX.

  48. Glenn
    Posted August 18, 2020 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

    How predictable that you people fall into another trap.

  49. Jean Henry
    Posted August 22, 2020 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    House Oversight Chairwoman Maloney has released new internal Postal Service documents warning DeJoy about “steep declines and increasing delays nationwide over the last two months as a result of his drastic operational and organizational changes.”

    https://twitter.com/kylegriffin1/status/1297245952735092738

  50. iRobert
    Posted September 17, 2020 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

    The court has ruled against FF, EOS and HW on this today. It has to be a corrupt court then. They couldn’t be wrong.

  51. iRobert
    Posted September 17, 2020 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

    From Law & Crime:

    Federal Judge Rules Trump and Louis DeJoy Waged ‘Politically Motivated Attack’ Against USPS, Will Rescind Recent Changes

    https://lawandcrime.com/2020-election/federal-judge-rules-trump-and-louis-dejoy-waged-politically-motivated-attack-against-usps-will-rescind-recent-changes/

  52. Posted September 24, 2020 at 4:30 am | Permalink

    Any president who refuses to go from the White House willingly when he loses the election, should be removed from office using an ice pick.

    From Newsweek:

    Mitt Romney Compares U.S. to Authoritarian Belarus if Trump Refuses to Leave Office

    https://www.newsweek.com/mitt-romney-donald-trump-transition-election-belarus-1533987

  53. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted September 24, 2020 at 6:46 am | Permalink

    Aww, dems can’t cheat him out. Waah!

  54. wobblie
    Posted September 24, 2020 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    iRobert, Trump and the fascist know they can not ever leave office. There criminality is so widespread and endemic the trumpers only recourse is violence. They have been geeking themselves up for this moment for years. They know they are going to be swept out of office at almost every level of Government. They have to get their Supreme Court judge now, because once they illegally retain power, and as a consequence there is no new Congress next year, they will need the Supreme Court to bestow legitimacy upon the coup.
    Seizures of power are very rarely secret events. Trump has been spending more time signaling to his supporters what his intentions are than in outlining any sort of program for his reelection.
    If only somebody other than Brazil was letting Americans in.
    Oh well, there are really only two basic response open to folks, fight or flight. The virus is taking away people’s ability to physically flee, the question is, when everything Trump and his death cult impose on us is legal, what will liberal do?

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