ARIZONA, USA — President Donald Trump acknowledged his opposition to U.S. Postal Service funds will disrupt efforts by states to launch universal mail-in balloting.
In a phone call with Fox News Thursday morning, President Trump explained why he doesn’t want to grant Democrat's extra funding for the U.S. Postal Service in the latest pandemic relief negotiations.
“They want $25 billion for the post office. Now they need that money in order for the post office to work so they can take in all these millions and millions of ballots. But if they don’t get those two items that means you can’t have universal mail-in voting,” Trump said.
Voting rights advocates said they aren’t surprised.
“His message just underscored what we already know. He wants to play partisan politics and political games instead of ensuring everybody can vote safely in November,” Sylvia Albert of the nonprofit, pro-democracy organization Common Cause, said.
Albert accused the president of spreading misinformation about mail-in voting to sow distrust.
“(Mail-in voting) is how soldiers voted during the civil war. It’s how a number of states operate their entire election. More than 50% of Arizonans vote by mail,” Albert said.
Arizona Republican Sen. Martha McSally echoed the president’s concerns Thursday, arguing that while absentee balloting is common, some states are not prepared for universal mail-in ballots.
“I disagree this close to an election states or at the federal level having some sort of mass mail-in ballots to everyone on the voter roll. I have some real concerns about that,” McSally said.
Workers of the U.S. Postal Service are stuck in the middle of the controversy.
“The problem that I’m seeing is that once you politicize the mail flow it becomes a funding issue,” said Joe Cuccinotto, president of the Postal Service union’s Phoenix Metro Local Area 93.
“We’re asking for more money for the post office so we can do our jobs better. And we’re not getting the funding so that causes less hiring. That causes less machines to run.”