By this past Friday, over 86 million Americans cast their votes for the 2020 election cycle — more than ever before. This is significant, especially in battleground states. Take Texas for example. More people have voted early in Texas than the entirety of Texas’ 2016 ballot count. This is a great boon for American democracy, but this news doesn’t come without a gut-wrenching caveat—it’s possible that not all ballots will be counted.
The US postal service itself has said that tens of millions of mail-in ballots are at risk of not being counted. That’s a shocking number considering the incredibly slim margin Donald Trump had over Secretary Clinton in a few battleground states. USPS is so overwhelmed that voters are being urged to hand-deliver their ballots to ensure they’ve actually been received by their respective precinct.
I want to reiterate this message right now: hand in your ballot to your local vote center if you haven’t yet mailed it in — otherwise go in person and vote either now, if possible, or on election day. If you can, take as many friends and family members as possible. If you can, give rides to neighbors, fellow congregants, whoever, as long as you do so safely and don’t put yourself at risk of getting COVID-19.
But how did we get here? Well, in no small part because of Trump’s Postmaster General, Louis DeJoy. DeJoy cut funding for USPS. These cuts have left USPS without the resources it needs during this exceptional time of record mail-in ballots. Even Fox News for god’s sake reported that a USPS watchdog found that the cuts to the service negatively affected mail services this election cycle.
And now we’re seeing the effects of these cuts on the ground in what might be the most contentious battleground state — Florida. Florida House Minority Leader Kionne McGhee posted a video he got from an unnamed source this past Friday showing a Miami post office absolutely overrun with undelivered mail including many ballots. Thankfully, USPS is investigating and hopefully this should put the screws on USPS higher-ups to enforce measures to get all ballots delivered. But there are two major problems here: First, Joe Biden almost certainly needs to win Miami to win Florida, and he very badly needs Florida to ensure victory over Trump. Second, were it not for this video, there’s a good chance we would never have known about these undelivered ballots, and USPS wouldn’t have launched an investigation.
My point here is simple: any USPS worker who sees his or her or their post office with any undelivered ballots that are not moving in the next few days needs to come forward with photo or video evidence and send it to a reliable news source, the USPS, and local politicians. All it takes is a tweet. You have become a defender of democracy. Do not take this power for granted.