Democrats have a new prime target in their political sights: U.S. Postal Service and Postmaster General Louis DeJoy. On Friday, Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold sued USPS and DeJoy for a supposed “attempt at voter suppression that violates the United States Constitution and federal statutes and must be stopped immediately.” This time, the “voter suppression” and “constitutional violation” came in the form of a postcard sent to voters with incomplete information about vote-by-mail.
Really? One deficient informational postcard is powerful enough to commandeer Colorado’s elections authority and suppress the right to vote?
In truth, Democrats are again using USPS to attack President Trump, openly accusing him of conspiring with DeJoy to disrupt USPS and interfere in vote-by-mail elections. Democrats insist on using USPS as a scapegoat when — not if — vote-by-mail issues arise in untested states. The left may be escalating the blame-game, but this scapegoating is nothing new.
Problems with the Post Office, a quasi-government agency, go back decades. Democrats, however, are only apt to highlight USPS flaws when it suits their political narrative; otherwise, they ignore them. It’s in the left’s handbook, and it’s ripped from my home state of Colorado.
The Colorado Precedent
Following Washington and Oregon, the Centennial State became the third to hold statewide vote-by-mail elections in 2014. Over the next five years, Colorado’s legislature improved the system. Now, as even Republican election officials in Colorado agree, our state has proven that universal mail-ballot elections can work well – when given enough time to prepare and with proper safeguards like signature verification.
Yet, in a warning to states rushing to implement a brand-new, statewide vote-by-mail system, even Colorado’s has issues. Usually, they stem from incompetent, partisan election officials, and last year provides one prime example.
In November 2019, Colorado held off-year elections. It was the first general election overseen by Arapahoe County Clerk Joan Lopez, a former DMV staffer with no elections experience. Despite being an off-year with only local races, it was plagued with mistakes and maleficence.
Notably, Lopez failed to request first-class postage for nearly 700 replacement ballots to guarantee timely arrival. Instead, would-be voters received them on election day. Lopez neglected to track those ballots, which would informed her of delays. Her predecessor, Matt Crane, explains:
Mail with the elections indicia, such as ballots, is supposed to be treated like first-class mail. It doesn’t always happen that way. That’s why two weeks out and thru the mailing deadline, we paid extra for first-class to make sure ballots that close to Election Day truly get first-class treatment.
Crane, who helped implement Colorado’s vote-by-mail system in 2014, says voters “should drop their ballots off and not use the mail” within a week before election day. The goal is first class and timely delivery, but there is never any guarantee.
Instead of owning up to her failure to adequately prepare, Lopez blamed USPS. Griswold came to the rescue, holding a finger-pointing press conference. “The USPS understood they had a problem on Election Day — they called all their carriers to come back, ‘Emergency! Pick up these ballots to send them out!’” she declared. “But they failed to notify us. And there are things that we could have done.”
Here was Colorado’s secretary of state, covering for a county clerk and blaming USPS for the failure of election officials to take precautions. All this happened under the watch of an Obama holdover postmaster general. How can it be argued with a straight face that any of these things are Trump’s fault?
Is the USPS the Democratic Party’s ‘Fall Guy’?
In her latest lawsuit accusing DeJoy of “voter suppression,” Griswold challenged two bullet points on the election mailers that recommended voters request a mail-in ballot “at least 15 days before Election Day” and to “mail your ballot at least 7 days before Election Day.”
She points out that, as a universal mail-ballot state, every registered Colorado voter is automatically sent a ballot. She also notes that voters needn’t mail their ballots back, as they can drop them off at a dropbox or vote center.
At best, Griswold can quibble that USPS provided incomplete information to voters. She’s absurdly arguing, however, that by suggesting voters contact local election officials or plan to give enough time before Election Day to mail in their ballots, they are advancing “voter suppression” — akin to Jim Crow-era poll tests and taxes.
This is Griswold’s second lawsuit publicly disparaging USPS. Last month, Colorado joined more than 20 states in suing DeJoy to halt efficiency improvements and cost-saving measures, many of which happened during the Obama administration. In every instance, the real intent of Democrats appears to be setting up Trump to take the blame for any future vote-by-mail issues.
When 46 states were notified by the Postal Service back in May that they should plan ahead, given an expected influx of mail ballots, USPS acted responsibly. Now, Democrats are acting irresponsibly with their deceptive claims.
The Truth about the USPS’s Woes
The Postal Service has been plagued with problems for decades. While congressional Democrats and media liberals claim USPS’s financial challenges are due almost entirely to a 2006 law requiring they pre-fund retiree benefits — including health-care benefits — the reality doesn’t fit their partisan arguments. Moreover, USPS has struggled to keep up with the times.
- No net profit since 2006, losing $83.1 billion since then.
- $11 billion in debt to the U.S. Treasury with $59 billion owed in future health benefits.
- Annual revenue in 2019 was $71.2 billion, a noticeable drop from $74.9 billion in 2008.
- Delivered 31.4 percent fewer pieces of mail in 2019 versus 2000.
Its decline has been driven by first-class mail, a 33.6 percent drop over the past decade. Furthermore, just last year, USPS ran an $8.8 billion budget shortfall — nearly $4.5 billion of which was due to overtime, late delivery, and extra transportation — and is expected to run a deficit of $10 billion in 2020.
As Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, a Democrat, ironically put it in a 2001 issue paper, “USPS is hamstrung by a pseudo-governmental status that stifles innovation and excellence in both itself and the competition.” He condemned both their “preferential treatment before the law” and “restrictions that place the USPS at a disadvantage relative to its private competition.”
Hypocrisy and Obstruction
Polis was right in 2001 — even going so far as to advocate privatizing USPS — and his paper reveals Democrats have known about the USPS problems for a long time. Two decades later, his arguments are even more significant.
We must not allow Democrats to deceive the American people with feigned outrage and to play both sides, extending Post Office problems with one hand while blaming Trump with the other. As we navigate this election season and the unceasing flood of issues, understand that USPS reform is and has been a long-term issue addressed by both parties. This didn’t start with Trump, nor will it end after his retirement.