MINNESOTA [08/18/20]—Today U.S. Sen. Tina Smith (D-Minn.), who has raised deep concerns over the recent and sudden changes at the U.S. Postal Service (USPS), toured an Eagan mail-processing center and discussed with USPS officials the impact of the changes that have already disrupted mail delivery in the state and may affect mail-in ballots during this fall’s election.
Recent operational and leadership changes put in place by newly-installed Postmaster General Louis DeJoy—including denying overtime to mail clerks and carriers—have slowed timely mail delivery for millions of people in Minnesota and across the country. The delays hold significant implications for veterans, older citizens and rural residents who depend on the mail for important things like life-saving medicines, census forms and ballots. Recent media reports have also documented a week-long halt in mail service for Minneapolis public housing residents.
“I have been hearing from many, many constituents about mail that is coming late, that is unreliable,” said Sen. Smith. “And that’s not the fault of the folks [postal workers] behind me or the people who work so hard in that [Postal Service] building. That is the fault of this chaotic approach and rapid fire change that we’ve been seeing at the Federal level. And that’s what I’m here to make sure does not impact the service of these amazing public servants.”
Since May, Sen. Smith has been advocating for Congress to provide emergency relief funding to the USPS. Most recently, Sen. Smith and colleagues asked the USPS Inspector General (IG) to investigate the changes made by DeJoy and the impact they have had on timely mail delivery. She also asked the IG to investigate any potential conflicts of interest that DeJoy might have. Only a few days after she sent that letter, the Inspector General opened a full investigation. Sen. Smith and colleagues also recently sent a letter to the USPS Board of Governors asking them to reverse the changes made by Postmaster DeJoy. Sen. Smith and colleagues also sent a letter asking Postmaster DeJoy to testify before Congress. DeJoy is now slated to testify before the Senate this week.