A group of protesters on Aug. 15 staged a “wake up call” demonstration outside the home of Postmaster General Louis DeJoy amid intense scrutiny over the United States Postal Service’s (USPS) latest move to cut costs.
The organizers of the protest, Shut Down DC, and other critics of USPS’s move alleged that DeJoy’s decision to restructure the national postal service just months prior to the November election is designed to limit mail-in voting.
“DeJoy has fired or reassigned much of the existing USPS leadership and ordered the removal of mail sorting machines that are fundamental to the functioning of the postal service. Meanwhile, mail delivery is slowing down under other decisions made by DeJoy, such as eliminating overtime for postal workers,” the group said in a statement.
The protesters gathered on Kalorama Park in Adams Morgan in the District of Columbia and marched toward DeJoy’s home, eventually stopping in front of his condo building where they were seen chanting, banging on pots and pans, and blowing horns. Some protesters were filmed attaching fake absentee letters and ballots to the door of DeJoy’s apartment building.
The protesters also chalked messages on the sidewalk and road in support of USPS but critical of DeJoy.
DeJoy, who took over the administration of the postal service in June, announced on Aug. 7 sweeping changes to the leadership structure of the organization as part of efforts “to operate in a more efficient and effective manner and better serve customers” amid concerns over the financial position of the agency.
“Our financial position is dire, stemming from substantial declines in mail volume, a broken business model, and a management strategy that has not adequately addressed these issues,” DeJoy told the USPS board of governors during an Aug. 7 meeting. “Without dramatic change, there is no end in sight, and we face an impending liquidity crisis.”
The organizational changes saw at least 20 postal executives reassigned to new roles. These cost-cutting measures have resulted in backlogs in the mail across the country, thrusting the agency into the spotlight over concerns that it may not be able to deliver ballots on time for the November election.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Democrat lawmakers have been pushing for expanded mail-in voting. This push has been met with opposition from President Donald Trump and Republicans, who argue that universal mail-in voting is ripe for fraud.
Trump had been frank about his intentions about stalling Democrats’ funding proposals for USPS in the next stimulus package. Democrats have sought to add $3.6 billion for mail-in voting and $25 billion for the USPS in the new COVID-19 relief package.
“Now, if we don’t make a deal, that means they don’t get the money,” Trump told Fox News. “That means they can’t have universal mail-in voting; they just can’t have it.”
However, Trump then indicated on Aug. 14 that he would accept a $25 billion deal to fund the USPS if Democratic lawmakers would make concessions.
On Aug. 14, USPS announced that it is seeking to raise prices on a number of its mail services starting about two weeks before the November election in order to address “increased expenses and heightened demand for online shopping package volume due to the coronavirus pandemic and expected holiday ecommerce.”
A USPS representative told The Epoch Times that the changes will not impact election mail and “are completely unrelated to the election.”
Tom Ozimek contributed to this report.