White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said in an interview on Sunday that US Postal Service mail sorting machines will not be removed until Election Day. However, internal USPS documents reveal a majority of the USPS mail sorting machines have already been removed.
Meadows told CNN's Jake Tapper on 'State of the Union' that the USPS would not remove any more mail sorting machines until after the presidential election following allegations that the Trump administration is trying to "sabotage" the election by hamstringing the Postal Service's ability to handle an unprecedented surge of absentee ballots in November.
Majority of Machines Scheduled for Removal Already Decommissioned
According to USPS planning documents, nearly 95% of the mail sorting machines that were slated for removal over the last few months would have already been taken out of service by now.
Documents from June reveal the USPS planned to remove 502 DBCS (Delivery Barcode Sorter) machines, or 13.2 percent of its total inventory by September 30. These machines are responsible for sorting envelope mail, which would include ballots for voters. However, nearly 95%, or 475, of those machines that were scheduled to go offline by the end of July, according to the documents.
It is not yet clear how many machines were actually removed by USPS, but union officials across the country confirmed that a number of these mail sorting machines, in addition to other machines, have either been removed or are in the process of removal.
Is Trump Trying to 'Sabotage' the Election?
Over the last few days, social media has been flooded with images of USPS mailboxes being removed in cities across the United States, prompting USPS spokeswoman Kim Frum to issue a statement saying that the "Postal Service will postpone removing boxes for a period of 90 days."
However, after Frum said the mail collection boxes will not be removed from their locations for at least three months, several social media users shared photos and clips of what appears to be "locked" USPS mailboxes in their respective cities.
This has led many to believe that that Trump is intentionally having them disabled in a bid to obstruct mail-in voting in the upcoming presidential election. Trump has been a vocal critic of mail-in voting, which, in the middle of a pandemic, allows the nation the safest means of casting their votes in November.
Over the past few months Trump has falsely claimed that the widespread mail-in voting will lead to voter fraud and on Thursday, he admitted to starving the USPS of funds to so "they can't have universal mail-in voting." This has sparked speculation that the President is intentionally trying to hamper the Democrats' election preparation efforts and help his re-election bid.
Late last week, the Trump administration reshuffled USPS leadership and consolidated authority under Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, a Trump ally and a major Republican donor who has seemed to actively work to intentionally slow down the service's mail-delivering capabilities since his appointment in May.
A slower mail service could have a big impact this fall because an unprecedented number of Americans are expected to vote by mail and many states require a ballot to arrive at an election office by election day, regardless of when it was put in the mail, in order to be counted.