Senator Says “Shocking” Structural Changes Threaten Service for Millions of Veterans, Seniors, Rural Residents

WASHINGTON, D.C. [08/8/20]—U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.) today demanded that U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy explain the recent and sudden structural changes at the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) that threaten reliable mail service for millions of people in Minnesota and across the country, and provide answers about the recent, week-long halt in mail service to Minneapolis public housing residents.

In a letter to Dejoy Saturday, Sen. Smith said the changes, delays and disruptions at USPS hold significant implications for millions of American households – especially veterans, older citizens and rural residents who depend on the mail for life-saving medicines, census forms, and ballots.  She also pointed to media reports of halted mail service of more than a week at the Charles Horn Towers housing complex in Minneapolis that disrupted residents’ efforts to receive and return absentee ballots by mail.

The decision by USPS to halt delivery to these residents is unacceptable and threatens to disenfranchise the voters—predominantly people of color—who live in those buildings,” Sen. Smith wrote to Dejoy.  “Not only am I concerned about how this decision is restricting access to voting for low-income households and people of color in Minneapolis, but I am also deeply concerned about nationwide mail delays and the impact of these delays on the integrity of the 2020 elections.  The growing inability of USPS to maintain service levels will jeopardize participation in the upcoming elections. USPS leadership should be focused on ensuring timely mail delivery; now is not the time for internal reorganization.”

Sen. Smith demanded that Dejoy provide a detailed account of the internal changes he has made at USPS since becoming Postmaster General in May, and to outline the impact those changes have had on mail delivery.  She also asked him to detail why the USPS made the decision to stop mail service at the Charles Horn Towers public housing complex in Minneapolis, and asked that Dejoy commit to notifying Minnesota’s Congressional delegation within 24 hours of any future mail stoppages in Minnesota. 

You can read Sen. Smith’s letter to Postmaster General Dejoy here.

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