Postmaster General Louis DeJoy denies ‘outrageous claim’ he’s slowing mail

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy on Friday said it was an “outrageous claim” to suggest he was slowing mail to undermine the November election.

DeJoy, who took office in May, denied a series of accusations, including that he removed mailboxes, cut overtime and withdrew mail-sorting machines to hinder mass mail-in ballots.

“I’ve never spoken to the president about the Postal Service, other than to congratulate me when I accepted the position,” DeJoy testified.

The postmaster said this month said he would pause all reforms to the US Postal Service until after the election. But he said swirling claims against him were inaccurate.

“Since I’ve been here we spent $700 million on overtime. Overtime ran at a 13 percent rate before I got here, it runs at a 13 percent rate now,” DeJoy said.

Asked if he would re-install mail-sorting machines that recently were removed from some facilities, DeJoy told Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.), “They’re not needed, sir.”

On-time mail delivery has declined, DeJoy conceded, but he attributed that to the coronavirus pandemic and said the USPS would prioritize ballots over first class mail to make sure it arrives to election officials on time.

“Our employees are experiencing the COVID pandemic also, and we have a significant issue in employee availability in many many parts of the country that are leading to delays in delivery of mail,” DeJoy said.

Democrats for weeks have accused DeJoy of a starring role in undermining the election. Many speakers at this week’s Democratic National Convention suggested mail-in ballots were under threat.

DeJoy specifically denied any role in removing neighborhood mailboxes or in closing post offices — actions that in some cities led to rallies around mail depositories and residents camping out to “protect” collection sites.

“I have nothing to do with collection boxes,” said DeJoy, testifying that 35,000 of the blue boxes were retired over the past 10 years due to declining demand.

DeJoy said closing post offices also goes through a process. Both mail boxes and post office locations won’t change until the election, he said.

The postmaster encouraged people to “vote early” and said he told his management team to “double” efforts on election mail.

“We’ve had weekly reviews on this since before this — all the excitement came out,” he said.

Some Democrats remained skeptical, noting that Trump rails against mass mail-in ballots for potentially allowing for greater fraud.

“Maybe it’s just a coincidence,” Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) said of recent mail controversies. “Here’s why we’re skeptical: because we have a president who doesn’t want to have vote by mail.”

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