- The Washington Times - Monday, August 17, 2020

The battle over mail-in voting will take center stage on Capitol Hill next week when Postmaster General Louis DeJoy testifies before a House panel.

Rep. Carolyn Maloney, New York Democrat and House Oversight Committee chairwoman, announced Monday that Mr. DeJoy would testify on the “sweeping operational and organizational changes he has been making to the Postal Service.”

“The American people want their mail, medicines, and mail-in ballots delivered in a timely way, and they certainly do not want drastic changes and delays in the midst of a global pandemic just months before the election,” Ms. Maloney said.

Capitol Hill Democrats have accused President Trump and Mr. DeJoy of sabotaging the U.S. Postal Service to block mail-in voting in the November election.

Mr. Trump said he has done the opposite.

When asked Monday whether he urged Mr. DeJoy to slow down the postal service, Mr. Trump said he “encouraged everybody: Speed up the mail, not slow the mail.” Still, the postal service recently warned nearly every state that the agency can’t guarantee mail ballots will be returned in time for them to count in the November election.

Mr. Trump and his top aide said the post office has not worked well for years and his administration is working to fix it.

“I know the post office really well. It’s not an issue of money. They’ve got over $10 billion cash on hand, they’ve got another line of credit,” White House chief of staff Mark Meadows told reporters on an Air Force One flight to Minnesota. “The postmaster general has said he is willing to pay overtime. A lot of the headlines are not indicative of what’s actually taking place at the post office.”

Mr. Meadows told reporters that problems with machinery and drop-off boxes pre-dated Mr. DeJoy’s tenure and that Mr. Trump was willing to sign legislation funding direct stimulus payments to the post office and to Americans.

He said the next coronavirus relief package is being delayed by the Democrats’ demands for $915 billion in aid to state and local governments. Mr. Meadows said the number is unreasonable and the White House is offering $150 billion.

Democrats mistrust the Trump administration’s motives.

On Friday, Ms. Maloney and other Democratic lawmakers wrote to request that Mr. DeJoy provide documents and information related to the Postal Service’s function by the end of this week.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi then called lawmakers back from their summer vacation to vote on legislation that would send an extra $25 billion to USPS and ban the post office from changing the operations or service levels until the end of the coronavirus pandemic.

The vote is planned for Saturday.

Mr. Trump griped on Twitter that Democrats are taking action after their convention this week — and as GOP festivities ramp up.

“Why is Congress scheduled to meet (on Post Office) next Monday, during the Republican Convention, rather than now, while the Dems are having their Convention. They are always playing games,” he tweeted before reverting to “yelling” all capital letters to say “get tough Republicans!!!”

Democrats signaled they will ask hard questions of Mr. DeJoy.

“I hope the Postmaster General comes prepared. I know I will,” tweeted Rep. Katie Porter, California Democrat who’s become known as a sharp questioner.

Some Democrats also have called on Mr. DeJoy to resign, and Rep. Bill Pascrell, New Jersey Democrat, has taken things a step further. He asked New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal to impanel a grand jury to consider criminal indictments against Mr. Trump and Mr. DeJoy for “electoral subversion.”

The post office is always a vital service but its importance has been magnified with many states expanding vote-by-mail because of the coronavirus.

All the back and forth about whether mail-in voting is secure and whether the U.S. Postal Service will interfere with the election has likely contributed to a growing lack of confidence in the upcoming election’s results.

An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll published Monday said 45% of registered voters said “yes” when asked whether they thought the results of the election would be accurately counted, which is down 14 percentage points from when they were asked the same question in September 2016. The 45% share of registered voters who said they had no confidence in the upcoming election’s results, is a significant jump (11 percentage points) over September 2016.

A primary factor in voters’ views was their concerns about mail-in voting, according to a recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.

A majority of registered voters surveyed this month, 51%, said they did not have confidence that votes cast by mail would be accurately recorded. The survey of 900 registered voters, reached by telephone last week, has an error margin of 3.27 percentage points.

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