Just days after Trump suggested pushing the November elections as vote-by-mail practices were "fraudulent," the USPS was spotted removing mailboxes in Oregon and Maryland.
Over the past few weeks, residents of various states have noticed the United States Postal Service (USPS) picking up mailboxes at random with large trucks. Folks have thus wondered why mailboxes in their neighborhoods were "disappearing." This is especially concerning as the presidential elections, for which most voters are likely to turn in their votes through the mail, loom closer. Incidents of disappearing mailboxes were reported in both Baltimore, Maryland, as well as in cities in Oregon. While official USPS spokespersons have claimed that the mailboxes were being taken simply because of "declining mail volume," some believe that this may, on the contrary, be a form of voter suppression given the current political climate.
Has anyone else seen or confirmed USPS removing mail boxes in Portland this week? This pic from an observer in NE Portland via fb. @alex_zee @tessriski @EvertonBailey @PDXzane @TheRealCoryElia pic.twitter.com/trCoDBZtiK— Steve 🎇 (@Intersection911) August 13, 2020
United States President Donald Trump has, over the past few months, spewed untrue rhetoric about the "bad, dishonest, and slow" process of mail-in voting. He has argued, time and time again, that the practice is fraudulent. Nonetheless, his stance has been debunked on numerous occasions; in an article for MarketWatch, political scientist Edie Goldenberg, who is currently working on ensuring fair and safe voting in the upcoming presidential elections, affirmed, "Voter fraud is rare overall, and rarer by mail." Further to this, Trump recently suggested that the November elections be delayed until they can be held in person while guaranteeing voters' safety.
Another similar photo taken in Eugene, Oregon today. pic.twitter.com/mFD6jFnzvk— Steve 🎇 (@Intersection911) August 13, 2020
Curiously enough, mailboxes in Oregon and Maryland began disappearing after his innocent "suggestion." This, coupled with the president's reshuffling of USPS leadership and consolidation of authority under Postmaster General Louis DeJoy (who, according to Claire Lampen writing for The Cut, "has seemed to actively work against the service’s mail-delivering capabilities since his appointment in May"), has made citizens very concerned. However, USPS spokesperson Ernie Swanson argued that the changes "shouldn't affect people at all" in an interview with Oregon's Willamette Week. In the state, 27 boxes in Eugene and four boxes in Portland were removed just this week alone.
"The reason we’re doing it is because of declining mail volume," Swanson explained. "Ever since the pandemic came along, people are mailing less for some reason." He said that the USPS was only targeting sites where mailboxes were "doubled up." In those areas, they plan to take one mailbox and leave another one standing; lone boxes were not being removed from their locations. Further to this, recently damaged mailboxes in Portland will soon be replaced with "newer, more secure models," another spokesperson for the USPS, David Rupert, shared. Meanwhile, residents in Abell, Maryland, are yet to receive answers about why their mailbox was removed.
Joules Tiles, an Abell resident who lives near the mailbox’s former location, remembered that the mailbox was removed from its site to make way for construction on 31st Street a week ago. "I’m concerned about our mailbox not coming back," they told The Baltimore Sun. "It’s a big move that was not reported to anybody in the neighborhood or on the block." The USPS is yet to confirm why the mailbox was removed or when it would be returned to its normal location (if it is returned at all). The complaint comes after several members of Maryland’s congressional delegation wrote to USPS leadership complaining of "major mail delivery issues." As the elections loom closer and more and more citizens opt-in to vote by mail, this poses a major threat to the country's fair and free elections.