President Trump’s Threats to USPS Funding a Show of Contempt for Voters, Democratic Process

Statement by Michael Latner, Union of Concerned Scientists

Published Aug 13, 2020

WASHINGTON (August 13, 2020)—In a Fox Business appearance this morning, President Donald Trump threatened to block additional funding to shore up the U.S. Postal Service while simultaneously insisting that the USPS did not have sufficient funds to conduct the election through mail-in voting. This constitutes a direct threat to the health and safety of voters and the country’s ability to conduct a free and fair election, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). Below is a statement by Dr. Michael Latner, senior fellow at the Center for Science and Democracy at UCS. “The president’s comments are the latest indication that he does not respect the right to vote or the idea of government of, by, and for the people.

“President Trump needs to understand that he works for the voters, and they have the right to hold their leaders accountable. Instead, he’s continued to spread falsehoods and disinformation about the electoral process, while his Department of Justice and political allies attack the right to vote in state and federal courts.

“The evidence is clear—voting by mail is safe and secure, proven effective in a number of states, and does not disproportionately benefit either party. In the midst of a pandemic, it’s one of the best ways to make sure nobody has to risk their health to exercise their rights.

“No political actor in the U.S. needs to speculate about how they would behave in an authoritarian state or in a historical thought-experiment. All we need is to look at how they are responding now to President Trump’s obvious contempt for the electoral process. There’s no room to play dumb here—President Trump is willfully eroding the foundations of our democracy.

“The president is openly trying to subvert the election, and no election official can afford to be silent on this egregious violation of our constitutional norms. He has openly admitted that he refuses to do what’s necessary to protect the right to vote and public health—and now it falls to the rest of the political system to challenge him. The U.S. Senate must join the U.S. House in passing a bill that fully funds the U.S. Postal Service and enables states to let every voter participate safely in the general election.”

Dr. Latner released a report last month identifying the policies needed to hold a safe election during a pandemic, including the expansion of mail voting.