SOUTHFIELD, Mich. – A number of Michigan representatives held a news conference at 11 a.m. Tuesday to address issues with the United States Postal Service (USPS) related to mail-in voting amid national controversy.
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Representative Brenda Lawrence, of the state’s 14th congressional district, led a discussion to “bring awareness to the Trump administration’s efforts to attack the United States Postal Service, sabotage the upcoming election, and undermine our democracy,” an announcement reads.
A national spotlight has been shone on the USPS over the last week, as the agency recently warned 46 states that mail-in ballots may not be returned on time for the November election -- even if they are mailed on time -- amid delayed and reduced services caused by a lack of federal funding.
Delayed ballot delivery could mean millions of American voices will not be counted in the upcoming presidential election.
Last week, U.S. President Donald Trump said that he is blocking funds to the USPS in an effort to make it harder to process an expected surge of mail-in ballots, which he worries could cost him the election.
“If we don’t make a deal, that means they don’t get the money,” Trump told host Maria Bartiromo of the USPS in an interview for Fox Business Network. “That means they can’t have universal mail-in voting; they just can’t have it.”
Mail-in voting, or voting absentee, has become a popular voting method throughout the U.S. amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Record numbers of absent voter ballots have been requested and issued in Michigan and across the country for this year’s elections.
Though Trump casts his own ballots by mail, he’s repeatedly criticized efforts to allow more people to do so, which he argues without evidence will lead to increased voter fraud that could cost him the election.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi is calling the House back into session over the crisis at the USPS, setting up a political showdown amid growing concerns that the Trump administration is trying to undermine the agency ahead of the November election.
Earlier Sunday, Democratic lawmakers demanded that leaders of the Postal Service testify at an emergency oversight hearing Aug. 24 on mail delays.
Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson has been critical of the federal push back to what some have called deliberate delays to suppress voting. The new post master general is calling those delays unintended consequences to budget cuts.
Voters and members of Congress from both parties have also voiced concerns that curbside mail boxes, which is how many will cast their ballots, have abruptly been removed in some states.
Lawrence was joined Tuesday by representatives Rashida Tlaib, Dan Kildee and Roscoe Woods.
Representatives Debbie Dingell, Andy Levin, Elissa Slotkin and Haley Stevens were also invited to the conference, officials said.