Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman kicked off the Democrats’ Day of Action in defense of the United States Postal Service at the Post Office in Ewing Township. She pointed to the deliberate work slowdown and the removal of mail sorting machines and letter drop boxes ordered by the Trump administration’s Postmaster General Louis DeJoy.
“If we allow Donald Trump to steal this election, our democracy will go down in history as an experiment that failed. I’m not willing to be a part of that,” Watson Coleman said.
“This is just to try to suppress the vote across the United States because he feels that the everyday citizen is not on his side,” said Ewing Township Mayor Bert Steinmann.
Constituents like Danielle Jean-Pierre complained of late mail, including her husband’s heart medicine.
“He just received it yesterday after waiting for about five days. And that’s been a major, major issue for his health,” she said. “Between prescriptions, or Social Security, or pension checks, or whatever they’re waiting for through the mail, it has a huge, huge influence on people and families and I’m very upset about it.”
Some voters wonder whether New Jersey’s mostly vote-by-mail election could be imperiled by the postmaster general’s apparent attempts to deconstruct the Postal Service, and by the president’s refusal to support extra funding.
“It seems like a sabotage,” said Ewing Township resident Ruth Miller.
Others see no issues.
“I believe that it’s overdone. I don’t think that there’s a problem,” said resident Steve Ruhmel.
The political firefight prompted members of Congress — including Watson Coleman and Reps. Donald Norcross, Josh Gottheimer and others in New Jersey — to rally around a local post office Tuesday in response to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s battle call to action.
Pelosi wrote, “In a time of a pandemic, the Postal Service is Election Central. Americans should not have to choose between their health and their vote.”
She called the House back into session on Saturday for an emergency vote on a measure to pump $25 billion into the Postal Service and block further attempts to interfere with its operations.
“We have an election coming up. Instead of cutting services, instead of taking mailboxes out of service, instead attempting to take processing machines out of circulation, we should be doing just the opposite,” said Rep. Bill Pascrell.
Pascrell’s gone even further by asking New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal to launch a criminal investigation against the president and his postmaster general for subverting New Jersey’s election.
Grewal tweeted on Tuesday that he will be suing the Postal Service.
“I believe that there’s an attempt here by governments of the United States of America to slow down the vote,” Pascrell said.
Trump made his point clearly on Fox Business Network last week.
“If we don’t make a deal, that means they don’t get the money. That means they can’t have universal mail in voting,” Trump said.
While many Republicans claim the Postal Service will be “fine” and call Pelosi’s bill “unrealistic” and “unnecessary,” New Jersey Republican Rep. Chris Smith wrote in a July letter to DeJoy, “… I have consistently opposed efforts to privatize or diminish the services of the USPS … I continue to support proposals in Congress to provide the USPS with a minimum $25 billion in emergency funding …”
The Postal Service said it has stopped removing mailboxes and sorting machines amid the outcry from lawmakers. Meanwhile, DeJoy has agreed to testify before a Senate committee on Friday and a House committee on Monday.