As President Trump and Postmaster General Louis Dejoy continue their assault on our democracy and the United States Postal Service, Vermonters stand to be particularly hurt by damages done to the USPS. Since the 18th century, the postal service has served as a vital resource for Vermonters to communicate outside our state borders, catch up on news at the post office, and connect with fellow Green Mountain residents from other towns.
As a state that is still largely rural, the USPS serves a vital function to this day for delivering mail and packages to remote residents who would otherwise not be covered by private mail services. In fact, the USPS is mandated by law to offer a Universal Service Obligation, meaning every person in the country is entitled to reliable and reasonably priced postal services. Even for non-rural residents, the postal service has proven to be especially important during COVID-19 as more businesses are shipping large quantities of packages to stay afloat.
Additionally, since the Vermont Legislature granted Secretary of State Jim Condos to conduct a universal vote-by-mail election for the November general election, the USPS will function even more so than normal as a life supporting artery for our democracy, allowing citizens to use their democratic right to vote while staying safe from the threat of another potential COVID-19 outbreak in Vermont.
However, while vote-by-mail is under attack nationwide, we are still confident that Vermont’s elections will be conducted fairly and democratically. To be confident your ballot makes it to your town clerk by election day, follow the Secretary of State’s vote-by-mail guidance and you can be rest assured your vote will be counted. Your options include mailing your ballot back 1 week before election day on November 3rd, or dropping it off in-person to your town clerk’s office or local ballot dropbox any time leading up to election day. But there’s no reason to wait to return your ballot! You can turn it in as soon as you receive it, and getting it in early will give you piece of mind that your vote will be counted in a timely manner. As long as you return your mail-in ballot in one of these ways, the nationwide USPS attacks will have no impact on your vote being counted.
That being said, regardless of the election stability we have in Vermont, Trump’s attacks on the USPS are anti-democratic and destructive, and they are directly threatening the ability of everyday Vermonters to perform necessary daily tasks such as paying their bills or getting their medications. Fortunately, our Vermont delegation to the federal government consisting of U.S. Senators Bernie Sanders and Patrick Leahy and U.S. Representative Peter Welch have stood firm in condemning Trump’s authoritarianism. Reach out to Sen. Sanders, Sen. Leahy, and Rep. Welch if you want to thank them for standing up for Vermonters in Washington!
Additionally, if you are upset with President Trump and Postmaster General Dejoy’s recent attacks on our democracy, there are many “Save The Post Office” protests happening across the state tomorrow, Saturday, August 22nd! Find one near you here, and if you choose to attend, please wear a mask and practice all social distancing requirements to stay safe.