Postmaster General Louis DeJoy recently came under fire for implementing budgetary changes to the United States Postal Service, which resulted in frequent delays in mail delivery. This led many to express concern on how quickly mail-in ballots will be received and counted come time for the presidential election in November.
“I came to the Postal Service to make changes to secure the success of this organization and its long-term sustainability. I believe significant reforms are essential to that objective and work toward those reforms will commence after the election,” said DeJoy in an official statement from the United States Postal Service following backlash for budget cuts in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and an election year.
Additionally, on August 21st, DeJoy testified in front of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee that no USPS policies on mail-in voting were changed and that any ballot mailed in time will arrive on time to be counted. DeJoy said, “This sacred duty is my number one priority between now and election day.”
DeJoy has repeatedly affirmed that changes in funding for the USPS will not go into effect until after November, but many are questioning what these changes will mean for Florida once the presidential election has come and gone.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the USPS employs over 20,000 Floridians with the average annual wage being a little over $50,000. Changes in funding could result in a dip in the annual wage or could result in many employees being completely let go.
Those who work for USPS are also guaranteed several benefits, including paid sick and vacation leave, life insurance, affordable health and dental insurance and overtime pay. Significant cost cutting measures could mean that the 20,000 Floridians employed by USPS may lose any of these benefits.
Cutting USPS funding would also result in detrimental effects for everyday Floridians, such as the elderly, those with disabilities who rely on USPS to deliver medicine, those who depend on the USPS to mail rent checks, and those who use USPS to send letters to their loved ones.
Additionally, USPS is known for having much more affordable shipping rates for light packages in comparison to services such as UPS or FedEx, meaning that a cut in funding could also result in USPS having to heavily increase their shipping rates. This could lead to a disproportionate impact on the working class and the poor.
The USPS is the only postal service that ships everywhere in the United States, including 100% rural counties in Florida such as Jefferson and Lafayette. Therefore, imposing a budget cut could lead to many of those in these rural counties to experience a significant delay in delivery, impacting many who rely on USPS to deliver vital medicine.
Many will be watching closely to see whether the budgetary changes have a substantial impact on mail-in-ballots for November’s election and services for the months beyond.
Featured Image: USPS mailboxes. Unmodified photo by EraserGirl used under a Creative Commons license. (https://bit.ly/3hupiTj)