When most businesses either slowed down or stopped operations at the height of the coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. Postal Service kept running and still is.
“The service is excellent. Sometimes the line is long because of COVID, but everybody has the patience to wait outside to do the service,” said Carmen Polanco, a local who said she depends upon it regularly.
Now, one of the country’s oldest institutions has something else to grapple with: a high-stakes presidential election in November.
The USPS launched a website to help Americans who plan to vote by mail, but some are still not convinced about the process.
The service has already been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
Lawmakers in Washington are split on whether mail-in ballots should be allowed. Senator Charles Schumer and other top Democrats think President Trump’s disapproval of voting by mail and his plans to block extra funds for the postal service is a form of voter suppression.
“In the past several days, Postmaster DeJoy has had to walk back some of his efforts to undermine and dismantle the post office ahead of the November election, but today we are here to say actions speak louder than words and that those actions will come from sharp oversight,” Schumer said Saturday during a press conference.
The senator is calling for independent oversight, led by Democrats to investigate recent changes he blames for the delays, protection for election mail and wants to hold Postmaster General and long-time Republican ally, Louis Dejoy, accountable.
Democrats have been vocal about their distrust for his initiatives, which they say threaten to undermine the election.
New Yorkers we spoke with are already planning to ensure their votes are counted.
“I think mailing is just in case you are too afraid or risky because of the virus. I’m going in person because I like to do it the old fashioned way,” said Lia Batista.
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, many American are expected to mail in their ballots to avoid polling sites.
“With everything going on, I don’t want to be in a place where it’s so crowded,” said Yolanda Hidalgo. “Where I go vote, nearby, it usually gets really crowded and it’s really hectic so I feel like maybe that’s one of the safest routes to go to get it in. If that wasn’t the case, I would go in person.”
The Postal Service recently warned that general election ballots sent by mail may not arrive in time to be counted. Senator Schumer is demanding that a full report be handed to Congress in two weeks, outlining how election ballots will be delivered on time.