US Postmaster General Under Heavy Fire Over Mail Voting For 2020 Election

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy is emerging from obscurity and into a glaring hot spotlight lately, raising alarms with aggressive new strategies that have upended the United States Postal Service just as it heads into possibly the most consequential moment of its history -- the great vote-by-mail election of 2020.

DeJoy's administration has slowed delivery, removed high-speed letter sorters from commission and issued a stark warning to election officials that mail-in ballots will no longer automatically be moved as priority mail. On top of that, the USPS has started reducing post office operating hours across several states, cut overtime for postal workers and removed some of their iconic blue letter collection boxes.

In the wake of what DeJoy is calling a "restructuring," the agency's inspector general is now reviewing these policy changes. And DeJoy will testify in both the Senate and House in coming days following demands from Democrats he appear.

On Tuesday, the embattled DeJoy suspended some of the changes until after the election. But Democrats say they want a full reversal of changes and are calling on DeJoy to prepare the USPS for the flood of mail-in ballots necessitated by the pandemic. Former President Barack Obama characterized the administration's approach to the postal service as "a knee-capping" -- sabotage by an executive who dislikes mail-in balloting and also has power over the agency that makes it possible.

Charged with securely shepherding millions of Americans' votes, the USPS is shouldering a growing sense of mistrust from all sides. Each day a bill payment is marked overdue or a birthday card arrives later than expected is another day for voters to wonder: Will the Post Office be up to the task this election?

DeJoy appears sanguine amid the furor, acknowledging to employees this week that the slowdown is a direct result of his policies. In a memo to postal service staff and workers, he allowed there had been "unintended consequences" but promised that the changes will eventually mean "transformation into a financially stable organization" -- a longtime conservative goal for the fiscally-challenged agency. Election experts may be worried about the post office role in a free and fair election, but DeJoy revealed that he, like Trump, is focused on the bottom line.

For the two months of his tenure, postal workers and election observers have been watching DeJoy closely and wondering to what extent he'll serve Trump's interests during the 2020 elections. The week's events served to highlight just how in sync with his boss he may be.

"He's a fantastic man," Trump said when asked Saturday evening during his news conference at his club in Bedminster, New Jersey, if he backs DeJoy's changes at the agency. "He wants to make the Post Office great again."

This view of Trump is however not seconded by all as many have accused DeJoy of lying about the removal of mail boxes during his senate hearing today, which has resulted in him trending on social media.

Watch a snippet from the hearing below:

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