New Jersey’s Congressional Democrats wrote to U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, demanding answers regarding the United States Postal Service’s (USPS) ability to carry out the state’s all vote-by-mail general election.
The charge was led by U.S. Rep Bill Pascrell, Jr., who penned the letter alongside nine cosigners, including: Reps. Albio Spires, Frank Pallone, Donald Payne, Donald Norcross, Bonnie Watson Coleman, Josh Gottheimer, Tom Malinowski, Andy Kim, and Mikie Sherrill.
“As you know, millions of Americans rely on the USPS for the timely delivery of mail, including protective equipment, prescription medications, census forms, tax refunds, social security checks, and election ballots,” the members wrote. “However, our constituents and the general public continue to face unusually severe mail delays as bad as at any point this year.”
Among the questions the delegation is looking to have answered by Trump Administration officials are:
- Have any mail-sorting machines been removed from New Jersey? If so, how many and at what locations were they removed? Please include if these removals were scheduled to occur prior to your installation as Postmaster General.
- Have any mail drop boxes been removed from New Jersey? If so, how many and at what locations were they removed? Please include if these removals were scheduled to occur prior to your installation as Postmaster General.
- New Jersey allows ballots postmarked by Nov. 3 to be counted as a valid ballot if received by 8:00 pm on Nov. 10. Can USPS guarantee that all ballots postmarked by election day will arrive by the deadline on November 10?
- What is the current employee availability level in New Jersey? Please detail any locations throughout New Jersey with lower than average availability levels.
- What steps is USPS taking in New Jersey to fill staffing shortages created by employees taking leave or self-quarantining? How many new employees in New Jersey have been onboarded since the start of the pandemic?
Accountability at USPS
The questioning comes after published reports was revealed an USPS error that saw roughly 6,500 primary mail-in ballots received on July 7 postmarked for the following day. The believed-to-be valid ballots came from each of New Jersey’s 21 counties, including 1,266 in Middlesex and 1,017 in Morris. Additionally, five other counties had more than 500 ballots incorrectly postmarked.
It’s not clear how many of the 6,535 votes were counted. By statute, they shouldn’t have as state law requires ballots arriving after polls have closed be postmarked by election day.
Since the start of the crisis, Rep. Pascrell has aggressively demanded accountability in the USPS. At the end of May, the Representative wrote to USPS Inspector General Tammy Whitcomb demanding an investigation into interference from the Trump Administration.
Prior Efforts for USPS Reform
Additionally, in August, Pascrell called for DeJoy and President Trump to be investigated by a state criminal grand jury for subverting state elections. He made a criminal referral to Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal on the matter, too.
Reps. Gottheimer and Payne, Jr. were continuing a battle to protect the USPS from interference from the Trump Administration. Specifically, both previously targeted DeJoy for his policies at USPS.
Gottheimer stopped in Paramus Aug. 18 to discuss a plan to fund the USPS, arguing the agency was a vital lifeline for New Jersey residents and businesses. He cited Social Security benefits, paychecks, tax records, medications, and more were delivered reliably by USPS, making it a part of the fabric of everyday life.
“By tampering with the mail in order to slow down the delivery of absentee and mail-in ballots, the Postmaster General’s actions to sabotage the USPS are impacting the health, safety, and economic security of North Jersey veterans, seniors, families and our small businesses,” he said.
Meanwhile, Payne made stops at the Newark, Orange, and Union branches of USPS to discuss the situation with managers and workers.
“I’ve said many times that the Post Office must be protected at all costs,” said Payne in a press statement. “Support for the Postal Service should never be a political issue.”