USPS trashes vote-by-mail

Democrats may well be to blame for the cuts at the Postal Service that are threatening their vote-by-mail program.

The cuts look like a logical reaction to the lockdown-induced reduction in overall mail volume.  The USPS reported its fiscal third-quarter results on August 7.  First-Class Mail revenue decreased by $373 million, or 6.4 percent, on a volume decline of 1.1 billion pieces, or 8.4 percent.  Secular declines in mail have continued to negatively affect mail revenue and volume, and those declines have been significantly exacerbated by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile, Shipping and Packages revenue increased by $2.9 billion, or 53.6 percent, on a volume increase of 708 million pieces, or 49.9 percent, compared to the same quarter last year.  In the near term, the Postal Service anticipates that these trends will continue, given the surge in e-commerce as many Americans stay home due to the COVID-19 pandemic

The pandemic has accelerated the secular decline in First-Class mail volume.  An obvious reaction would be a reduction in overhead, such as sorting equipment.  In fact, the tech site Vice reported that those reductions predate Trump's Postmaster General Louis DeJoy.  One of the documents suggests that these changes were already in the works because it is dated May 15, a month before DeJoy assumed office and only nine days after the Board of Governors announced his selection.

The Postal Service proposed removing 20 percent of letter-sorting machines it uses around the country before revising the plan weeks later to closer to 15 percent of all machines, meaning that 502 will be taken out of service, according to documents obtained by Motherboard outlining the agency's plans.  USPS workers told Motherboard this will slow their ability to sort mail.

Of course, Democrats are now scrambling to blame the president for their dilemma — a Postal Service that's quickly transitioning away from First-Class letters to packages, due in large part to their insistence that the lockdowns continue.  No one doubts that Trump has long been preparing to fight the vote by mail movement, only now he has Democrats trashing about as living examples of Sir Walter Scott's famous observation: "Oh, what a tangled web we weave, When first we practice to deceive."

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