Democrat demands that a coronavirus relief bill include federal aid for the now overtaxed post office and funding for the upcoming U.S. election have become major sticking points in negotiations for legislation members of both sides say needs to be passed soon, President Donald Trump said on Thursday. The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday rebuffed Republicans who challenged an agreement in Rhode Island allowing residents to vote by mail through November's general election without getting signatures from two witnesses or a notary. In February, the Mesa County Clerk's office discovered more than 500 uncollected ballots that had languished in a drop box since the previous election.
Trump has been railing against mail-in ballots for months as a possible source of fraud, although millions of Americans - including much of the military - have cast absentee ballots by mail for years without such problems.
Memos from post office leadership, obtained by The Associated Press news agency (AP), detailed an elimination of overtime and a halting of late delivery trips that are sometimes needed to make sure deliveries arrive on time.
President Donald Trump is scheduled to hold his daily news conference on Thursday at 5:30 p.m. ET from the White House briefing room.
Trump's attack comes immediately on the heels of the new Postmaster General Louis DeJoy on Friday announcing a major reorganization, hiring freeze, and ousting top executives, dubbed the "Friday night massacre". Additional records detail cuts to hours at post offices, including reductions on Saturdays and during lunch hours.
Democrats are now calling for the ouster of DeJoy, a longtime Republican fundraiser and Trump donor.
"Instead of taking steps to increase your agency's ability to deliver for the American people, you are implementing policy changes that make matters worse, and the Postal Service is reportedly considering changes that would increase costs for states at a time when millions of Americans are relying on voting by mail to exercise their right to vote", the Democrats wrote.
"To the extent that states choose to use the mail as part of their elections, they should do so in a manner that realistically reflects how the mail works", he said. "One of the reasons we are such a secure state is that we use those mail ballots. Killing the USPS will unequivocally kill disabled people".
Another said: "One aspect of these changes that may be hard for employees is that - temporarily - we may see mail left behind or mail on the workroom floor or docks".
Republicans are working with Trump to destroy the USPS and sabotage the delivery of ballots.
"The items are the post office and the $3.5 billion for mail-in voting", Trump told Fox Business Network, saying Democrats want to give the post office $25 billion. "Why? It hurts his electoral chances".
But the request to allow counties to count ballots received after Election Day also underscores the likelihood that counties in the state will still be counting ballots days after Election Day, as they were in the June 2 primary.
Statewide in-person early voting began Saturday in Florida while the state continues to grapple with a high number of coronavirus cases, highlighted by more than 8,800 fatalities and at least 550,000 known virus cases since the pandemic began.