Op-Ed: Electoral rights, 15th Amendment, and the USPS: Mail voting is OK

Posted Jul 31, 2020 by Paul Wallis
The Trump/GOP war against the US Postal Service has taken on an element of pettiness and stupidity. The very much underfunded USPS has had its overtime eliminated, and other services trashed by selective political fraud and fakery on a massive scale.
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Trump hasn’t even been officially nominated as a candidate yet. (Or has he? It's not like anyone's said otherwise, but what's the official standing of his nomination?In recent news/Tweets, he has said that:
• Postal votes will result in electoral fraud and corruption. Trump has voted by mail on several occasions.
• “Lead to the end of our great Republican party.” (Of which he, previously a Democrat, wasn’t even a member until 2016.)
• “Children will steal the mail.” If so - Why has this never even been an issue for either party before? …Or are America’s children so presumably corrupt that this is their idea of fun? Or is the GOP now fearlessly defending America against its own children, too?
The pandemic is one of the reasons for the vast increase in applications for postal votes, which has put a huge strain on the obviously underfunded USPS. Postmaster Geeral and major Trump donor Louis DeJoy (an apt name) recently abolished overtime for couriers and postal deliveries to “increase efficiency and reduce costs”.
Increased efficiency is apparently a synonym for slower deliveries at the expense of the time and patience of recipients, and reduced costs somehow mean delayed delivery is more cost-efficient for recipients. It would seem the idea of hiring more people to manage the electoral votes isn’t being considered, either.
Um, idiots…
The fact that mail ballots will also include Republican voters apparently hasn’t occurred to Mensa’s illegitimate offspring in Washington. The fact that representatives and senators need those votes also obviously isn’t an issue.
• All American citizens are entitled to cast their votes under the 15th Amendment. Congress has the power to enforce those rights and neither the United State nor US states can abridge that right. That includes obstructing voting by any means. Let's spell this out - The US government cannot direct any action which abridges 15th Amendment rights.
• it can easily be argued that the USPS, as an agency of the United States government, has no right to refuse or otherwise withhold any service which effectively goes against those electoral rights.
• Slowing the vote delivery times can’t invalidate a vote.
• Candidates and scrutineers don’t have to accept a partial vote and can challenge any result. If for example 50% of the voters have voted and their votes haven’t been counted, all that means is that the votes must be counted. This really is a no-brainer. It’s quite common for vote counts and recounts to be extended on that basis.
• The USPS is under an ironclad legal obligation to deliver mail.
• Time frames for delivery are irrelevant to the constitutional right to vote.
• Voters are not responsible for delivery.
• Votes are not invalidated by dysfunctional delivery issues.
• Disenfranchisement by any means may be legally actionable by voters. People are entitled to have their votes counted.
In short, there is and never has been a legal basis or precedent to suddenly decide “no postal votes”.
Political mileage? Not much, if any.
Poll numbers are pretty bad for Trump, and worse for Congress. Trump’s approval is 41%, that of Congress 18% according to Gallup, both of which are abysmal numbers. Voters are clearly dissatisfied, and getting more so. Telling them they can’t vote the way they want to vote won’t help anyone.
Add to this the endless tweaking of regulations by the GOP, people being unable to vote at ballot boxes, gerrymander, and similar issues, which have been going on for years with equally endless complaints by voters.
This added postal voting problem could backfire spectacularly. It will definitely enrage voters on all sides. There is no valid reason for the USPS to do anything more than its job of delivering the votes for counting. Nothing else is even relevant.