A group of more than 20 people – mostly Schuylkill County Democrats – gathered outside US Rep. Dan Meuser’s office in Pottsville Thursday afternoon to protest changes at the US Postal Service.
This group contends the same as the Democrat Party at the national level, that these changes are an attempt to undermine the General Election vote on Nov. 3. That’s when many more Americans than normal will submit an Election ballot by mail rather than turning up at a local voting precinct.
Mail-in ballots, a different process than Absentee Voting although they do use the same ballots, were approved in Pennsylvania in 2019. The system was first implemented during the Pennsylvania Primary on June 2.
Schuylkill County Democrats Protest Changes at US Postal Service
The issues at the Post Office which have the Democrats’ feathers ruffled are proposed cuts in retail hours at local Post Office locations, the removal of some mail processing equipment, including some blue collection boxes, the closing of some mail processing facilities, and cuts in overtime payroll budgets for employees.
Democrats assembled in Pottsville and across the country believe these cuts will hamper the upcoming election and the mail-in voting process. They accuse new Postmaster General Louis DeJoy of sabotage. Critics of this argument believe the Postal Service can process the expected uptick in mailings because of the General Election.
“The current Postmaster General Louis DeJoy has deliberately sabotaged the Postal Service by destroying high-speed processing machines and the blue mailboxes that dot the landscape of our country,” Todd Zimmerman, secretary for the Schuylkill County Democratic Committee said before protestors on Thursday. “Well, we the people are pissed!”
DeJoy was unanimously picked by the USPS Board of Governors back in May 2020. He took over at USPS later in the summer when Megan Brennan, of Pottsville, retired. He warned that changes at the Post Office needed to happen to keep the service solvent. During the second quarter of 2020, the USPS posted a net loss of $4.5 billion, compared to a net loss of $2.1 billion in the second quarter of 2019.
Both DeJoy and Brennan said regulatory changes needed to be made to help the Post Office remain viable. And earlier this week, US Postmaster General Louis DeJoy announced he would suspend any changes that were happening until after the November election.
He said, however, that what was actually happening on the ground were changes that were approved prior to his arriving as Postmaster General.
“I came to the Postal Service to make changes to secure the success of this organization and its long-term sustainability. I believe significant reforms are essential to that objective, and work toward those reforms will commence after the election. In the meantime, there are some longstanding operational initiatives — efforts that predate my arrival at the Postal Service — that have been raised as areas of concern as the nation prepares to hold an election in the midst of a devastating pandemic. To avoid even the appearance of any impact on election mail, I am suspending these initiatives until after the election is concluded,” DeJoy said in a statement released this week.
Pottsville Protest in Support of USPS
On Thursday, Zimmerman also read a letter he delivered to Meuser (PA-9) that demanded the Congressman put the pressure on DeJoy to cease any proposed cuts in the Postal Service.
“We hope you urge Postmaster General DeJoy to fix the destruction he has caused,” Zimmerman said. “If he fails to do so, we hope you call on Louis DeJoy to resign. Pottsville native and former Postmaster General Megan Brennan should fill his position until after the November election.”
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