There’s a lot to unpack here.
(Photo by Morning Brew / Unsplash)
During a massive pandemic that the United States just can’t seem to shake (who knew it’d be this hard to get people to wear masks?), mail-in ballots are sounding pretty good to a lot of people.
But from rumored election delays to postal service funding cuts, the conversations around mail-in ballots can be a little confusing. There’s a significant amount of misinformation being spread right now, especially by Trump. So, let’s clear this up.
What exactly is the USPS?
For starters, it is not a business. Never designed to be profitable, it’s a non-partisan, civic institution that’s been around since 1775. The service provides countless jobs, offers social class mobility and consistently delivers to isolated, low-income communities.
But It’s In Danger
Although it’s been navigating negligence for quite some time, the pandemic and current administration have hit the USPS the hardest. In a time of need, Trump suggested he “Trump threatened to veto the $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or Cares Act, if the legislation contained any money directed to bail out the postal agency.”
Trump’s beef with the postal service, recently claiming that ‘the Post Office is a joke’, all comes down to the upcoming election. He’s been shouting ‘voter fraud’ for weeks, riling up his supporters and developing a fear of fraudulence. What’s he so afraid of? The answer is simple, and it lies in his actions: losing.
Trump recently suggested postponing the election, which is scary as hell. Although he doesn’t have the power to do this, he does have a talent for sprinkling false facts all over Twitter feeds.
His current leading argument is that mailed ballots are at high risk for fraud. A study conducted in 2016, following the most recent election, showed that voter fraud in the US is extremely rare, even in states that have transitioned into voting exclusively by mail.
Additionally, a piece from the New York Times that focused on cities with higher rates of African American and Latino voters explains that, “If Mr. Trump were to successfully beat back access to absentee ballots, proponents of voting rights worry that it could disenfranchise these communities in particular.”
If the USPS had been given adequate emergency aid, we may have potentially seen a higher voter turnout, especially within these demographics, which could drastically impact the outcome of this election.
Although the ridiculous proposition of delaying the election is most likely not happening, there are still concerns you as a voter should know about.
What to keep in mind when deciding how to vote:
Trump’s administration is currently fighting for only votes that can be tallied on election day to count. And with the postal service’s current backlog struggles, there’s a good chance that a significant number of ballots won’t make the cut. So just an FYI, this is not the time to procrastinate; Make sure you don’t leave this to the last minute. The deadline for the primary election in Florida is August 18.
However, just this Tuesday Trump tweeted his support for absentee voting — but only for those in Florida. Where’s the support for states like Oregon, who have been voting by mail since 2000 with 79% turnout?
As Trump continues to cherry-pick this situation, we can be clear that in the midst of a pandemic, voting by mail not only supports the USPS but keeps us all safe.
Madeline Murphy is an Online Writer at Rowdy Magazine. She’s currently studying Journalism with a minor in Women’s Studies. Madeline can be found making Apple Music playlists, trying Nigella Lawson recipes and binging SATC. She’s fiercely passionate about social justice and the power of words.