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Sen. Tester voices concern over USPS funding, removal of MT mailboxes

Jon Tester
Posted at 7:26 AM, Aug 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-14 15:36:36-04

HELENA — US Senator Jon Tester – and other Senate Democrats – are blasting both President Trump and Senate Republican leadership, for their refusal to properly fund the Postal Service.

They’re also saying actions by the newly installed Postal Service leadership, is undermining mail-voting.

Sen. Tester and all 46 other Democratic and Independent US senators wrote a letter Wednesday to Trump-appointed Postmaster General Louis De-Joy.

They asked whether reports are true – that the Postal Service will charge state governments more money to mail ballots – or, not treat ballots as first-class mail.

Sen. Tester said the voting rights of millions of Americans – including Montanans – are depending on the Postal Service’s ability to deliver mail in a timely fashion.

President Trump said on Thursday he will block any new coronavirus relief bill if it includes emergency support for the Postal Service.

Sen. Tester said the bill should include $25 billion in emergency funding for the Postal Service.

He also wrote his own letter Thursday to DeJoy – asking about reports that mail-collection boxes are being removed in Montana cities.

Sen. Tester said the Postal Service is a “crucial lifeline” for rural Montanans – and to ensure everyone has access to voting.

The Postal Service has begun removing mail-sorting machines across the country and boxes from other areas in the country, including in Oregon.

Tester said he included these questions to DeJoy in a letter:

  • Has the USPS removed any collection boxes in the past 30 days in Montana? If so, please provide the number of units removed by town.
  • Specifically, my office received reports that units were recently removed from Bozeman and Lewistown. Are there any ongoing orders to remove any collection boxes in Montana?
  • For instance, my office received reports that the USPS is in the process of removing units in Billings. If the USPS has recently or is planning to remove collection boxes, what is the rationale being used?
  • When were the last density tests conducted?
  • Will you make the results of those tests and any other data related to the removal of units public?
  • How have you communicated with the public and local elected officials to ensure there would not be a disruption in the critical service the USPS provides to these communities?
  • Has the USPS recently reassigned or added collection boxes to improve accessibility?

Read the full letter here.