WASHINGTON, D.C. – In case you missed it, U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) spoke with Cleveland.com this week about a letter he sent to Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose urging him to reconsider his decision to prohibit local boards of election from providing multiple secure ballot drop boxes in each county. Brown was joined on the letter by U.S. Representatives Marcy Kaptur (D-OH-9), Joyce Beatty (D-OH-3), Tim Ryan (D-OH-13), and Marcia Fudge (D-OH-11), Chairwoman of the House Subcommittee on Elections.
Full text of the letter can be found here and below.
A breakdown of Ohio voters per drop box in each county can be found here.
The Cleveland.com story can be found here and below:
August 17, 2020
CLEVELAND - Equipment that appears to be dismantled mail sorting machines sits in a lot behind Cleveland’s main post office.
As the U.S. Postal Service has warned Ohio and other states that it may not be able to meet mail-voting deadlines this November, the visibly idle equipment along with mail delays and post office budget shortfalls have fueled fears that the upcoming election will be undermined.
A U.S. Postal Service spokesperson on Monday assured cleveland.com the sidelined equipment in Cleveland won’t affect the election.
“The machine was moved months ago and it’s just one that was used to process flats (like magazines) which is a class of mail volume that has declined over the years,” said USPS’ Naddia Dhalai. She said ballot mail is not included in the class of mail that was sorted on that machine.
President Donald Trump’s assaults on mail-in balloting, even as he has requested an absentee ballot to vote from his new residence in Florida, have raised questions over whether he’s deliberately trying to sabotage an election that will likely have more mail-in ballots than ever because of reluctance to vote in person during the coronavirus pandemic.
In a news conference over the weekend, Trump said universal mail-in voting would be “catastrophic. It’s going to make our country a laughingstock all over the world.”
“The ballots are lost, there’s fraud, there’s theft, it’s happening all over the place,” said Trump. “Now we’re going to do it with this whole, vast, big section of the country? It’s crazy.”
Orders by Trump-appointed Postmaster General Louis DeJoy to sideline sorting machines before the election added fuel to the fire.
A statement from American Federation of Government Employees National President Everett Kelley said Trump “has made no secret about his desire to suppress voting in the November 2020 election,” and called Trump’s “effort to raise doubts about the U.S. Postal Service’s ability to deliver ballots cast by mail” an example of “how he hopes to dissuade Americans from voting.”
“Postal Workers and Letter Carriers both say, unequivocally, that no matter how much the administration tries to undermine trust in the postal system, the system remains fully capable of delivering every single ballot cast by mail in a secure and timely manner,” said Kelley. “The apparent slowdown in mail delivery occurring across the country is hurting senior citizens, veterans, residents of rural areas, and everyone who relies on mail delivery of prescription drugs, paychecks and benefit payments, rent, and other bills. This slowdown must be stopped.”
On Sunday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she’ll call the House of Representatives into session this week to vote on a measure that would block the Postal Service from implementing any changes to operations or level of service it had in place on Jan. 1, 2020.
“Alarmingly, across the nation, we see the devastating effects of the President’s campaign to sabotage the election by manipulating the Postal Service to disenfranchise voters,” said a statement from Pelosi. “Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, one of the top Trump mega-donors, has proven a complicit crony as he continues to push forward sweeping new operational changes that degrade postal service, delay the mail, and – according to the Postal Service itself – threaten to deny the ability of eligible Americans to cast their votes through the mail in the upcoming elections in a timely fashion.”
U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio told reporters on Monday that he believes the U.S. Senate should also go back into session to pass a measure to assist the post office. He said the post service’s ability to efficiently deliver holiday mail shows it could handle election mail it if had the proper resources. He argued that DeJoy should resign, because “he’s a political hack who was a Trump megadonor who never worked at the postal service.”
“How can the president say we can’t handle this many absentees or mail in voters yet at the same time they’re taking away mailboxes, they’re taking away sorting machines?” Brown asked.
Meanwhile, Brown joined other Northeast Ohio Democratic members of Congress in a Monday letter that urged Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose to reconsider his decision to bar local election boards from providing more than one secure drop box in each county to collect completed absentee ballots. The letter observed that rural Noble County – with fewer than 8,000 registered voters – would have as many secure ballot boxes as Franklin and Cuyahoga counties – each with more than 850,000 registered voters.
“But it is not just the most populous counties that are harmed by your order,” continued the letter Brown signed with U.S. House of Representatives members Marcia Fudge of Warrensville Heights, Marcy Kaptur of Toledo, Tim Ryan of the Niles area, and Joyce Beatty of Columbus. “In rural parts of Ohio, voters could be required to travel up to an hour to reach the closest ballot drop box.
“Ohio’s primary this spring provided a number of valuable lessons for election administrators and voting rights advocates to learn how to improve when and how we will vote this fall,” the lawmakers said. “Unfortunately, very little has been done by way of translating those lessons into concrete plans of action to safeguard November’s election. The actions you take in the next month dictate what millions of Ohioans who vote this fall will understand about the effectiveness and adaptability of its state government, and whether or not it will have risen to the circumstances of the moment or succumbed to being, at best, a cautionary tale for mismanagement.”