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Attack On The USPS


GreyhoundFan
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We've been posting updates on the corrupt administration's attacks on the USPS in multiple threads. I figured we need a central location for the posts.

Okay, I'll start. This is the first I read about a "temporary" price increase:

 

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I agree with this assessment.

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"Tracing Trump’s Postal Service obsession — from ‘loser’ to ‘scam’ to ‘rigged election’"

Spoiler

Soon after taking office in 2017, President Trump seized on the U.S. Postal Service as an emblem of the bloated bureaucracy. “A loser,” he repeatedly labeled one of America’s most beloved public institutions, according to aides who discussed the matter with him.

Allies coddled Trump by telling him the reason he lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton in 2016 was widespread mail-in balloting fraud — a conspiracy theory for which there is no evidence — and the president’s postal outrage coarsened further.

Then Trump complained to senior White House advisers that Jeff Bezos — a presidential foe in part because he owns The Washington Post, whose news coverage the president thought was unfair and too tough on him — was “getting rich” because Amazon had been “ripping off” the Postal Service with a “sweetheart deal” to ship millions of its packages, one of them recalled. They explained that this was not true and that the Postal Service actually benefited from Amazon’s business, the adviser added, but the president railed for months about what he described as a “scam.”

And now Trump has fixated again on the Postal Service, this time trying to make it a tool in his reelection campaign by slowing mail service, blocking an emergency infusion of federal funds and challenging the integrity of mail-in balloting. The president acknowledged last week that his opposition is rooted in his desire to restrict how many Americans can vote by mail.

The breathtaking moves by the Trump administration this summer to disrupt a government service during the coronavirus pandemic — under the argument that it will boost operational efficiencies — represent the culmination of Trump’s grievance-fueled crusade against the Postal Service that dates to the start of his presidency. Many of his complaints have centered on the post office’s chronic financial problems, which have worsened during the pandemic.

“The post office has been run poorly for many, many decades,” Trump said at a news conference last Thursday as he defended his administration’s actions. “Great people in the post office, incredible people, but they’ve had very bad leadership for many years. So we’ll get it straightened out.”

With nearly 180 million Americans eligible to vote by mail, and with the pandemic generating health safety concerns about in-person voting, both parties are preparing for a historic surge in mail-in balloting.

Trump has predicted — without supporting evidence — that mail-in balloting could produce “the greatest rigged election in history,” as he put it at a Wednesday news conference.

Voting rights advocates say the Trump administration’s actions with the Postal Service could result in widespread delays and voter disenfranchisement, and jeopardize the nation’s ability to administer the election.

“This is a repugnant, unbelievable scenario unfolding in front of public eyes,” said Rep. Gerald E. Connolly (D-Va.), who chairs a congressional subcommittee with oversight responsibilities for the Postal Service.

“The Postal Service is the one arm of public service that reaches every household and every business every day in America,” Connolly said. “I believe Trump and the Republicans are playing with fire in trying to disrupt or discredit the Postal Service.”

Trump opposes a $25 billion emergency bailout sought by the Postal Service, as well as a Democratic proposal to provide $3.6 billion in additional election funding to the states for help carrying out voting, as part of a broader coronavirus relief package tied up in congressional negotiations. He does support a smaller infusion of $10 billion for the Postal Service, according to a White House official.

Trump’s fury with the Postal Service and mail-in balloting has become something of an obsession in recent weeks. The president devotes extensive time to reading news reports and other materials about mail-in ballots, talking about the topic with his advisers and thinking about how to block such voting, according to one senior administration official.

During recent meetings with advisers and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Trump aired his grievances at length about voting in the states of Nevada and New York, as well as Paterson, N.J. — where a unique election fraud case has been heavily covered by conservative media — and other places where he said mail-in balloting should not be expanded, according to two people familiar with the meetings.

Trump did not explicitly mention the Postal Service, but he told those in the meetings that he wanted to block states from expanding universal mail-in ballots by filing more lawsuits, these people said.

These sources, as well as other officials who recalled Trump’s private comments and characterized his thinking about the Postal Service, spoke on the condition of anonymity to be candid without risk of retribution.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Matthews defended Trump by saying he is working “to ensure the security and integrity of our elections.”

“All Americans deserve an election system that is fair and balanced, and President Trump is highlighting that Democrats’ plan for universal mail-out voting would lead to fraud,” Matthews said, pointing to reports of expected mail delays to support her boss’s prediction of fraud.

One of Trump’s closest allies, Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), criticized the president’s opposition to funding the Postal Service at the requested levels, noting that the service is overwhelmingly popular with the American public and is an essential resource for people who receive their prescription medicines through the mail. 

“The idea of cutting the Postal Service’s budget is not the right approach,” Graham said, adding that he thinks Trump threatened its funding because “he’s trying to stop what he sees as an effort to have mass mail-in voting.”

Experts say Trump’s attacks are unprecedented, especially in their overtly political nature. 

“In the 245 years of the Postal Service, no one has seen political attacks like this,” said James O’Rourke, a professor of management at the University of Notre Dame who specializes in the Postal Service. “While for a long time we thought this was not politically driven, it’s becoming increasingly transparent in recent days that this is almost entirely political.” 

Winifred Gallagher, author of “How the Post Office Created America,” said the closest historical analogy is President Andrew Jackson — a self-styled populist whose portrait Trump hung in the Oval Office soon after moving in.

When Jackson was elected in 1828, Gallagher said, “the post office was the federal government as most Americans experienced it,” considering at least three-quarters of federal workers were employed by the Postal Service. Once in office, Jackson replaced 13 percent of postal workers — almost all of whom had been aligned with his predecessor, John Quincy Adams — with loyalists, even though many of the new workers had no postal experience.

“That’s what this reminds me of, this kind of politicization,” Gallagher said. “You really have to go back to Jackson to see it.” 

Trump’s changes at the Postal Service dovetail with a long-envisioned ideological project on the political right to privatize the service, a cause advanced by the billionaire industrialist Charles Koch and his late brother, David Koch, as well as other conservatives.

“There’s lots of stuff they want to do, creating dysfunctionality, lessening public dependence on it, and creating a reputation for being unreliable that would cede the ground for a privatization proposal,” Connolly said.

Trump’s moves were cheered by Paul Steidler, a Postal Service expert at the right-of-center Lexington Institute, who lamented that the institution was largely ignored by previous presidents as well as by Congress.

“The degree of intensity and focus on the Postal Service is something that hasn’t been seen in quite some time,” Steidler said. “To make a suggestion that no changes should take place and everybody should sit still until Election Day is wrong.”

During his decades in private life, Trump did not demonstrate much acrimony toward the Postal Service, in part because his business interests — real estate, marketing and golf courses — did not depend on logistics the way other industries do, according to Trump biographer Tim O’Brien. His animus toward the Postal Service as president, O’Brien explained, “is entirely new in his life.”

Trump’s ire at the Postal Service grew so intense in the spring of 2018, a time when he was routinely attacking Amazon on Twitter, that his advisers griped privately about the presidential preoccupation.

As Larry Kudlow prepared to take over for Gary Cohn as National Economic Council director in 2018, Kudlow told Cohn, “I just talked to the president and we have got to do something about this special deal Amazon has with the Postal Service,” according to two former senior administration officials who described the episode, which has not previously been reported.

Cohn burst out laughing and told Kudlow: “It’s not my problem anymore. I’ve heard about this all the time since I’ve been here, and I’ve tried explaining that the post office actually competes for and wants last-mile delivery.”

Trump had long expressed private frustration with the previous postmaster general, Megan Brennan, repeatedly telling aides that he wanted to remove her. He also grew irritated with Cohn, then-staff secretary Rob Porter and other advisers when he was told some of his opinions about the Postal Service and its finances were not factual and that he did not have the authority to make changes there unilaterally.

Brennan had resisted the president’s demands to double the rates the Postal Service charges to Amazon and other package-shipping firms, a dramatic increase that could have cost the companies, as well as post office customers, billions of dollars. She repeatedly told Trump that the relationship between Amazon and the Postal Service was mutually beneficial, and that the president didn’t have the ability to undo Amazon’s contracts without a regulatory commission review. 

Last year, Trump finally pushed through Congress three of his appointees to the Postal Service Board of Governors, giving the board — which had long suffered vacancies — a quorum for the first time since 2014. The Board of Governors has 11 members and elects the postmaster general. At the time, a White House spokesman rejected the idea that Trump had lobbied for his appointees to replace Brennan. 

Last October, Brennan — a former letter carrier who became the first woman to head the agency — announced her plans to retire. She was replaced in June by Louis DeJoy, a businessman and Trump loyalist recruited by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. DeJoy had donated more than $2 million to GOP causes since Trump took office, attended some of the party’s most elite fundraising events, and cultivated a close relationship with Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel.

DeJoy became become a lightning rod this past week amid reports of mail-sorting machines being removed from postal facilities and blue collection boxes uprooted from neighborhoods across the country.

McDaniel defended DeJoy in a statement: “Louis is an incredibly kind individual who cares deeply about his service to this country. With decades of experience running a highly successful shipping and logistics company, there is no one better suited to make improvements to the Postal Service than him.”

DeJoy met earlier this month in the Oval Office with Trump in advance of the postmaster general’s tense meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.). White House spokesman Judd Deere characterized it only as a “congratulatory” meeting, because DeJoy had recently been appointed, and declined to offer any other details.

At an Aug. 7 meeting of the Postal Service’s bipartisan Board of Governors, DeJoy portrayed himself as independent of the White House. “While I certainly have a good relationship with the president of the United States, the notion that I would ever make decisions concerning the Postal Service at the direction of the president, or anyone else in the administration, is wholly off-base,” DeJoy said, according to his prepared remarks.

A friend of DeJoy’s, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to be candid, said Trump’s public comments about the Postal Service “adds undue scrutiny to him” and that “he doesn’t see the president’s rhetoric as helpful.”

 

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Not a surprise, considering DC is heavily blue and won't vote for Twitler. Southeast has some of the poorest neighborhoods in the district.

 

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Thread:

There is no unrolled version available. 

I recommend reading the comments as well; they also provide good ideas and alternatives.

 

Edited by fraurosena
Autocorrect riffle
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Another thread and again no unrolled version available, but with good information:

 

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What a shocker (not), more conflicts of interest:

 

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I'm surprised that jerkwad Meadows didn't try to blame Hillary's emails...

 

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Anyone want to guess if Dejoy actually shows?

 

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Wtf Meadows almost 4 years of this hell. It ain't Obama (or Democrats) anymore.  Look in the mirror, at McTurtle and Fuckopotamus if you want to blame anyone 

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Have you guys dealt with the mail issue? Like my neighborhood on average now gets our mail 3x a week if we are lucky.

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40 minutes ago, candygirl200413 said:

Have you guys dealt with the mail issue? Like my neighborhood on average now gets our mail 3x a week if we are lucky.

Our letter carrier comes every day, but I've only received stuff in my box a few times in the last two weeks. In the past, I've gotten at least one piece of junk mail daily.

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15 minutes ago, WiseGirl said:

Wtf Meadows almost 4 years of this hell. It ain't Obama (or Democrats) anymore.  Look in the mirror, at McTurtle and Fuckopotamus if you want to blame anyone 

They know full well it's not Obama, or Hillary, or the Democrats.

But Trump and therefore his sycophantic administration and Congressional enablers only know how to blame others when caught in a difficult situation. And you know it's impossible for them to take responsibility for anything. So they do the only thing they can: point the finger away from themselves.

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Because the Repugs have to ruin everything...

 

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"State officials rush to shore up confidence in Nov. 3 election as voters express new fears about mail voting"

Spoiler

President Trump’s unprecedented attacks on the U.S. Postal Service amid widespread mail delays across the country are shaking voters’ faith that their ballots will be counted, prompting a rush among federal, state and local officials to protect the integrity of the Nov. 3 election.

Thousands of voters have called government offices in recent days to ask whether it is still safe to mail their ballots, according to officials across the country. Attorneys general from at least six states are huddling to discuss possible lawsuits against the administration to block it from reducing mail service between now and the election, several told The Washington Post. State leaders are scrambling to see whether they can change rules to give voters more options, and Democrats are planning a massive public education campaign to shore up trust in the vote and the Postal Service.

“He is undermining the safest voting method during a pandemic and forcing people to cast a ballot in person,” said Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold (D). “It is reprehensible.”

The race to action comes amid escalating worries that even if the president does not succeed in blocking mail voting, he has created a dangerous crisis of confidence that could jeopardize whether Americans view the eventual outcome as legitimate.

“He has succeeded enough that everybody is working overtime to clean up the mess,” said Kristen Clarke, president of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, a nonpartisan voting rights group.

For months, election officials in both political parties have been encouraging voters to cast their ballots by mail to avoid coronavirus infection. The effort has worked, with record numbers voting by mail in a slew of primaries this spring and summer — and planning to do so again in November, according to numerous public polls. More than 180 million Americans are now eligible to vote by mail in the fall after many states relaxed their rules.

But the president, lagging in the polls behind presumed Democratic nominee Joe Biden, has been lobbing nonstop attacks on voting by mail, making unfounded claims that it opens the door to rampant fraud. In fact, states that have embraced universal mail voting have documented tiny rates of ballot fraud, data show.

Last week, Trump went further, saying he opposes billions of dollars in urgently needed election funding for the states and the Postal Service because he doesn’t want states to make it easier for Americans to vote by mail.

Voting advocates and Democrats accused the president of intentionally sowing chaos and confusion just as election offices are starting to accept requests for mail ballots — a blatant attempt at voter suppression, they said.

“I am alarmed. I am disheartened,” said Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), who is pushing for a $3.6 billion cash infusion to help states prepare for the fall elections in the latest coronavirus relief package. “But no one in America has given up, because people are onto him. They know what he’s doing. Americans, as you can see from their votes in their primaries, would rather put ballots in the mailbox than their families in the hospital.”

Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh did not respond to a request for comment.

In an appearance Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union,” White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows appeared to back off Trump’s earlier comments, saying the president is open to legislation that would ensure adequate postal funding to manage the surge of mail ballots this fall. Meadows also said no postal sorting machines will be taken off line between now and Nov. 3, insisting that previous removals were part of a plan that predated the Trump administration.

“The president of the United States is not going to interfere with anybody casting their vote in a legitimate way, whether it’s the post office or anything else,” Meadows said.

But in the same interview, Meadows emphasized the president’s concern about ballot fraud, even though he was unable to point to evidence of widespread fraud. “There’s no evidence that there’s not,” he said.

Postal workers have expressed alarm in recent weeks about widespread mail delays across the country, the result of operational changes put in place at the Postal Service by Louis DeJoy, a top GOP donor, saying the backlogs could hamper ballot delivery.

The revelation Friday that the Postal Service has warned 46 states that it cannot guarantee the delivery of all ballots in time to be counted under their current deadlines set off a cascade of panic in the public. Social media lit up with frantic questions from people about how to cast ballots safely. On Twitter, #USPSProtests was a top trending hashtag throughout the weekend.

Many voters said they were so alarmed that they are reconsidering their plans to cast mail ballots and plan to risk going to the polls in person amid the pandemic to make sure they are counted.

“I was planning on doing it though the post office,” said Kamilla Gilfedder, 36, a voter in Lexington Ky., who plans to vote for Biden. “It was primarily just to avoid covid. I’ve got a toddler and my family is high-risk. But when I think about it, I just want to make sure that my vote is registered. So I think I’m going to go in.”

Kathy Blair, 73, a retiree who lives in St. Paul, Minn., said she is still waiting for her granddaughter in California to receive a birthday present she mailed on July 14 using priority service. Blair said she plans to vote early in person this fall, and has persuaded several of her friends who had planned to vote by mail to do the same. Otherwise, she said, “five weeks, six weeks later the ballots may never show up,” calling the postal delays “a travesty.”

In Virginia, hundreds of voters called the state elections office Friday trying to cancel their mail-ballot requests, according to Chris Piper, the top election official in the state. Piper said there is no formal way to do so, but voters who want to vote in person should bring their mailed ballot with them to the polls, allowing officials to void it.

Attorneys general from Virginia, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Washington and North Carolina, among others, have begun discussions on how to sue the administration to prevent operational changes or funding lapses that could affect the election. They expect to announce legal action early this week, according to several involved in the talks.

“This is not just terrible policy, but it may be illegal under federal law and other state laws as well,” said Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring (D). “A lot of work is being done literally as we speak over the weekend and at nights to try to figure out what Trump and DeJoy are doing, whether they have already violated or are likely to violate any laws and how we can take swift action to try to stop this assault on our democracy.”

Eric Holder, who served as U.S. attorney general under President Barack Obama and now leads the anti-gerrymandering group National Democratic Redistricting Committee, is also considering legal action, a spokesman said.

Democrats, who have seized on the mail delays as a potent campaign issue, moved rapidly to keep the pressure on the administration and GOP lawmakers.

House and Senate Democrats said they are launching investigations into service changes at the Postal Service. And the House Oversight Committee on Sunday scheduled an emergency hearing on mail delays and concerns about potential White House interference in the Postal Service, inviting DeJoy and Postal Service Board of Governors Chairman Robert M. Duncan to testify Aug. 24.

The Postal Service did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Biden’s campaign, meanwhile, plans to devote a “substantial” portion of $280 million in reserved ad time this fall to education messages designed to walk voters through their options on how to vote safely and securely, spokesman T.J. Ducklo said.

Democrats and voting advocates appeared united that the most urgent task is to reassure voters that casting their ballots by mail is safe and secure, especially if they give them plenty of time to arrive.

“Donald Trump is scared,” said Lauren Groh-Wargo of Fair Fight Action, the voting rights organization founded by Democrat Stacey Abrams, who ran for governor in Georgia in 2018. “He’s a coward. He doesn’t think he can win an election when everybody is allowed to vote. Our vote is our power.”

State election officials also noted that they have been talking to local postal managers for weeks, and said they have been told ballots will be given priority treatment.

“We are exploring all available options, but we also want to make clear that people should continue to make use of mail options and not be deterred by the president’s effort to undermine the election,” said Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey (D).

Officials plan to drive home the need for voters to cast their ballots early, both through the mail and at early voting sites. In most states, absentee ballots will start arriving toward the end of September. That raises the prospect that millions of Americans will rush to cast their votes weeks before the Nov. 3 election.

In the states, election officials are also consumed with the question of whether they have time to make fresh changes to election policies to give voters more options — and more time — to return their ballots.

In Colorado, which offers universal mail voting, Griswold is urging local election administrators to apply for additional drop boxes to place across their counties. Griswold’s office is paying for 100 such boxes, which cost between $4,000 and $10,000. Griswold said she is also considering whether to send ballots out to voters earlier than scheduled to give voters even more time to return them.

While many states are accelerating their use of drop boxes as an alternative to mailing ballots, Republicans have raised questions about their security, even suing to block them in Pennsylvania. Democrats have pointed to that opposition as evidence that Republicans are more interested in hindering voting than helping run an unprecedented election during a pandemic.

“The majority of Coloradans already use drop boxes,” said Griswold, noting that the boxes are bolted to the ground, lighted at night and under 24-hour surveillance. They are also emptied by a team that must include one Republican and one Democratic election judge, she said.

Scott McDonell, the clerk of Dane County, Wis., which includes Madison, said one local election official in the county briefly considered using library book drops for ballots before realizing they are not secure enough.

“You need something that can’t be broken into,” McDonell said.

Meanwhile, officials are making plans for additional voter education campaigns to remind the public that early in-person voting is also a safe option for those seeking to avoid the likely denser crowds of Election Day. Officials also plan to instruct voters not to use the mail to return their ballot too close to the election — but said they haven’t figured out when that cutoff should be.

“At some point we’re going to message voters, ‘If you haven’t sent your absentee ballot back, then you need to go ahead and take it in,” said Piper, in Virginia. Piper said the state legislature is also expected to consider more funding for drop boxes this week, when a special session convenes.

The mail backlogs prompted a massive outcry from postal customers who rely on the mail for the delivery of medicines, unemployment checks and Social Security payments. Sen. Robert P. Casey Jr. (D-Pa.) received more than 5,000 letters on the subject just in the past week, according to his office. Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) has received nearly 7,000. Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) reported 3,000 such complaints.

Peters’s office said that more than 750 of the messages to his office related to election issues, including complaints of never receiving mail ballots in the Michigan primary two weeks ago and testimonials of dropping off ballots rather than risking a mail delay.

The public outcry has led even Republican lawmakers to press the Postal Service to alter its approach.

Rep. John Katko (R-N.Y.) announced Friday that he supports a reversal of DeJoy’s policy changes. Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) wrote a letter to DeJoy urging the same, citing the heavy reliance of small business, veterans and seniors on the mail in his rural state.

“The reason the president doesn’t want people to vote by mail is that polls show that people who want to vote by mail tend to vote for Vice President Biden,” Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), a regular critic of Trump, said in a video interview with the conservative Sutherland Institute. “People who tend to want to vote in-person tend to want to vote for President Trump. So this is a political calculation.”

Trump’s threats to oppose Postal Service funding came the same week that he and first lady Melania Trump put in their own requests for absentee ballots in Florida.

Recent polls have produced varying estimates for the share of Americans who expect to vote by mail. A new Pew Research Center poll released last week found that 39 percent of all registered voters prefer to vote by mail in November; while a separate Monmouth University poll found 49 percent saying they are at least somewhat likely to vote by mail.

In 2016, by comparison, about 24 percent of voters cast absentee ballots, according to the U.S. Election Assistance Commission.

Pew’s survey also found that nearly half of registered voters said they expect voting in November to be difficult — more than triple the share who said this ahead of the 2018 midterm elections. Democrats, younger voters and Black voters were much less likely than others to expect voting will be easy.

Democrats, meanwhile, said that bipartisan support for the mail gives them leverage to approve a $25 billion bailout for the Postal Service. They also say the issue has given them a potent political weapon in House and Senate battlegrounds, with numerous Democratic candidates already on the air with ads criticizing their opponents for failing to shore up mail service.

“No matter what [Trump] does, Americans are going to find a way to vote,” Klobuchar said. “But we have to do everything we can to make it safe.”

 

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I told my brother to deliver my parent's absentee ballots when they are ready. They are octogenarians and their favorite color is blue. 

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On 8/15/2020 at 6:52 PM, GreyhoundFan said:

I agree with this assessment.

image.png.a921c5f4f37f5d20fc53e0e45989f2a4.png

This.  Exactly this.  They need to have electronic voting.  Otherwise, he's going to lose bigly.  There was always something very fishy about the small pockets of specific states where the exit polling didn't come close to the vote count outcome.  It will be more obvious what happened in 2016 if we vote by mail in 2020.  

If DeJoy doesn't come testify willingly, they ought to drag him out kicking and screaming and throw him in jail.  Enough with these criminals.  This is illegal.  If I lock up my neighbor's mailbox, they can arrest me.  They lock up thousands of public mailboxes and say, "Get over it."

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