Postmaster General Louis DeJoy said Friday that it was his “sacred duty” to make sure mail-in ballots are delivered and argued the USPS is capable of handling the upcoming influx of election mail.
“As we head into the election season, I want to assure this committee and the American public that the Postal Service is fully capable and committed to delivering the nation's election mail securely and on time,” DeJoy testified in front of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. “This sacred duty is my number one priority between now and Election Day.”
DeJoy argued that handling mail-in ballots was well within the USPS’s capability, saying, "We deliver 433 million pieces of mail a day. So 150 million ballots, 160 million ballots over the course of a week is a very small amount."
DeJoy’s virtual hearing comes just two months after the Republican Party fundraiser took the role of postmaster general. Within weeks of DeJoy taking up the post, the Postal Service removed sorting machines and collection boxes and ended overtime, among other changes that have resulted in mail delays.
In response to public outcry, DeJoy suspended the changes but said Friday morning at the hearing that the removed sorting machines, some of which have already been destroyed, will not be replaced.
“They’re not needed,” he argued.
DeJoy also said Friday that he found out about the collection box removals “when everybody else was made aware” and that he “had no idea that that was a process.”
“When I found out about it, we socialized with the leadership team and looked at what the excitement it was creating so I decided to stop it and we’ll pick it up after the election,” he said. “But this is a normal process that has been around for 50 years.”
DeJoy said Friday that he supports voting by mail and — like the president himself — has voted by mail “for a number of years.”
“I think the American public should be able to vote by mail,” he said, and committed to delivering at least 95% of election mail in one to three days, the same rate as the 2018 election.
As BuzzFeed News previously reported, mail delays have meant thousands of Americans across the country are waiting for life-saving medications. Voting rights advocates are also warning the changes and delays could result in mass voter disenfranchisement as the country prepares for a historic number of mail-in ballots this November as the coronavirus pandemic continues.
As the election nears, Trump has continued his attacks on mail-in voting.
“There is NO WAY (ZERO!) that Mail-In Ballots will be anything less than substantially fraudulent. Mailboxes will be robbed, ballots will be forged & even illegally printed out & fraudulently signed,” he tweeted in May, prompting Twitter to attach a fact-checking note to the tweets. “This will be a Rigged Election. No way!”
Just last month, Trump made the argument again on Twitter, writing, "Mail-In Voting is already proving to be a catastrophic disaster … The Dems talk of foreign influence in voting, but they know that Mail-In Voting is an easy way for foreign countries to enter the race."
The president’s attacks have been discredited. There is no evidence of extensive ballot forgery or fraud, and states have many ways of verifying the validity of mail-in ballots. According to the Brennan Center for Justice, Oregon, a vote-by-mail state, has found fraud in just 0.00001% of all votes cast by mail since the year 2000.