I’m a Mail Carrier, and Trump Is Definitely Trying to Affect the Election

My hands are tied, but I’m doing my part to try to stop him

LEVEL spoke with a mail carrier who works in a major metropolitan area in the Northeast; in order to preserve their anonymity, we’ve omitted any identifying information about them.

I’m worried. I’m really worried. Many letter carriers already go above and beyond to do our jobs just on a regular basis. What’s going on right now? It’s ridiculous.

First of all, we know what Trump (and the postmaster he appointed) are trying to do. We’re not allowed to talk about it at work. But we all know. He’s trying to mess with the collection of absentee ballots. Period.

People saw the removal of mailboxes. And then the USPS said, “Oh, we always do this.” Yes, mailboxes are removed if it takes a carrier time to get there and there’s very little mail inside. But it takes a very long time to make that decision. There’s a process. And even when they do decide to move boxes, they don’t move 15 boxes at once. Except that’s what was happening.

I know we have to remain neutral. But I’ve been a letter carrier for almost 20 years, and I’ve never seen anything like this. We all know it’s politically motivated. We can’t work here and just pretend we don’t see what’s happening.

I mean, it’s ridiculous to try to say Trump’s not doing this on purpose. He’s literally screaming on television about the Democrats wanting mail-in ballots. Although, of course, in Florida, he’s requesting mail-in ballots for himself.

Mailboxes are one thing. But the high-speed sorting machines they’re removing? We need those. That’s what’s going to slow down the ballots.

I know we have to remain neutral. But I’ve been a letter carrier for almost 20 years, and I’ve never seen anything like this. We all know it’s politically motivated. We can’t work here and just pretend we don’t see what’s happening.

So when I heard about the removal of the sorting machines, I called my [National Association of Letter Carriers] union rep. I asked them, “What are we supposed to say?” And the answer is, we can’t really say anything. No matter what we see in the post office, no matter what we suspect is being done, we can’t say anything. We’re federal employees; the USPS is strictly nonpartisan. We can’t even attend a protest in uniform.

I see firsthand how all of this will affect my community. In wealthier neighborhoods, you have one letter carrier who has been there long-term, for many years. It’s mostly single-family houses and not many apartment buildings. Not much risk in terms of applications and mail-in ballots.

But in my city, there are areas where there is literally nothing but apartment buildings. And the boxes don’t always have names — which can cause problems with something as important as ballots.

My boss wants to give me two weeks off my regular route so I can go into my neighborhood and make sure everyone’s mailboxes are properly labeled. In certain neighborhoods in my community, people move in and out of apartments, and something as important as ballots can get misdirected. We can’t have that.

But be clear. No one is saying, “Send this person out so they can vote for this person.” Absolutely not. All we’re saying is that the mail-in ballots should reach each person safely with no confusion. Especially in underserved communities.

My union rep has given us talking points if we really feel like we need to say something. All we can say is: “We need a postmaster general who supports the United States Postal Service.” That’s it. That’s all we can say. But I think people understand what that means.

We have to be careful. The HATCH Act is serious. It’s a law that states that all employees in the executive branch of government, except the president and the vice president, are not allowed to engage in political activity. Me even talking about this could be considered political activity.

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy just backed down with some of the changes he was trying to make. I smell a rat. We all do. Either he’s going to be forced to resign for not following Trump’s orders — or he’s already done enough to affect the election.

Here’s what I’m doing. In addition to going into the community to make sure boxes are properly labeled, I’m keeping $100 in stamps in my mail truck as I go on my route. You would not believe how many times we have to send mail back because the stamp fell off. Or they mailed off a lot of things and missed an envelope. Especially with older folks, who were most likely to vote by mail anyway. If I see a ballot missing a stamp, I am not sending it back for insufficient postage. I’m gonna slap my own stamp on there and make sure it gets to where it needs to be.

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