Comment Of The Day: “Open Forum On Zoom Day!” (Mail-In Voting Thread)

As veteran visitors know, there is little that thrills me more than when a commenter tackles a topic that I know I need to write about, saving me the trouble of researching and writing a post. Thus I am grateful to Chris Marschner (as well as others who discussed the issue on yesterday’s Open Forum) for this Comment of the Day on the annoying mail-in voting controversy, which, I venture, the Democrats are using to give them an automatic excuse to challenge the results of November’s elections, or, in the alternative, to be able to claim that the President is “refusing to accept the results of the election” should he lose in the midst of dubious handling of the mail.

The USPS has been in a state of progressive rot for decades, one the internet made it almost, but not quite, obsolete. The service bleeds money, is progressively more unreliable, and now is an extremely expensive operation that the nation can’t afford. Our local post office was closed years ago. I literally cannot remember the last time anyone in the house got a personal letter. (The closest was the various official correspondence from the pathetic Ethics Alarms commenter who sued me, demanding $100,000 for defamation.) Christmas cards, junk mails, government mail, and bills, along with the occasional check if it is  lucky enough to be delivered at all. To suddenly demand that the U.S. mail must be used to facilitate voting in a crucial, perhaps existential election like the upcoming one is so cynical or foolish—Hanlon’s Razor again—that it boggles the mind (if one has a mind) that anyone would fall for it. 

We are, unfortunately, in the era of Facts Don’t Matter.

For some time, the USPS has epitomized the slogan, “Can’t live with it, can’t live without it.” If the U.S. relies on the mail for this election, it will simply be “Can’t live with it.”

Here is Chris Marschner’s Comment of the Day on the post,  “Open Forum On Zoom Day!”:

Between 2011 and 2016 200,000 mailboxes were moved. Those getting the vapors over logistical decisions on mailbox placement are using a normal activity and concocting an unfounded conspiracy theory.

Lest we not forget,  states run elections. Why does the federal government have to pay for a choice pushed by the party that believes it can make political hay from demanding it? Nothing stops people from requesting an absentee ballot. I intend to vote in person as I did in the primary. Voting in person is no more dangerous than going to WalMart.

Back to the mail: All boxes are subject to be moved if they get an average of only 25 pieces each day. If poor people are sending lots of mail then they will get more boxes. If they don’t send mail then they can hand their mail to a postal employee. I am getting tired of the argument that poor people have no choices other than the one that makes them do something else. If a low income person works, take the ballot and put it in with the business mail or in the outgoing slot. If they don’t work, then wait for the carrier and give it directly to them. Failing this, if they are so concerned about being disenfranchised they can get off their ass and walk or take a bus to a post office.

Virtually every business is pushing paperless billing which reduces demand for postal services. If bill payers have auto debit or pay online, as we do, postal demand falls again.

Technology has put a big bite in first class postal revenues. We subsidize the USPS to the tune of 18 billion which is why they want the parcel business; 3rd and 4th class business just wont make it.

Given that the postal workers union endorsed Biden, should they have any role in distributing or collecting universal ballots that were not specifically requested by a voter and have no paper trail?

10 thoughts on “Comment Of The Day: “Open Forum On Zoom Day!” (Mail-In Voting Thread)

  1. I appreciate the COTD. There were however many fine ideas on this subject. I believe AIM explained the economics of the issue low use boxes and another explained the strategy of the postal workers to obtain overtime pay. All were COTD material and much better written than mine. Nonetheless, I do appreciate you noting my commentary.

    My biggest gripe is that we continue to hold low income households and minorities to some idiotic standard that they are incapable of doing the simplest of tasks without government spending billions of dollars on a problem that is best left to the individual. Joe Biden stated that I had a responsibility to my fellow citizens as an American to wear a mask. Well, if a mask works that well then others have a responsibility to get off their butts and go vote in person.

    BTW, word press still won’t let me comment or send me emails using my correct email address. I have to use an old Verizon one just to comment. Not getting emails just means I have to check in without being any notification.

    • With the mail-in ballots, who get to vote for me? I mean, what if they send out ballots to me in the last 6 states I was register to vote? California has over 1 million more registered voters than eligible citizens. All of them get mailed a ballot? What happens when people who live in high-turnover apartments get 10 ballots? Will the postal union tell the mail carriers to deliver the one to the current resident and give the other 9 to the union to vote for Biden? When I canvassed for votes, I noticed that about half of the people listed as voting in every election for the last decade had nonexistent addresses (the block ends at 825 N Center street, but the address 877 N Center Street) or ‘lived’ in vacant lots. What happens when they try to mail those?

      I think the problems go waay beyond the post office being overloaded.

  2. Jack mentioned in his intro to the post about how little is inbound, but doesn’t mention the outbound. My personal experience is that the outbound has dropped even more. I’m struggling to remember the last time I dropped an item into the mail.

    One would think that the poor which is synonymous with un-banked would need to use the mail more, but not so. It’s going on three years now since Lisa Servon published “The Unbanking of America”, a very good read on how the poor and low middle class live their lives without using a traditional bank. When it comes to paying a bill, they’re using check cashing services and paying their bills online too, only it’s done with a check cashing service making the actual payment. The big takeaway from this book is just how out of touch many of the activists for the poor are with the lives of the poor.

    When it comes to voting – I’ve lived with it since 1998, ever since Oregon decided to go with mail in only voting. In that time, I’ve voted every time and never once mailed in my ballot. So far the USPS hasn’t failed to deliver a ballot. On that side of things I do have recourse if the USPS fails in the delivery – I can visit my county clerk and get it rectified. On the other hand, there is no recourse for ballots sent in that are lost or don’t make it in time. So I’ve dropped the ballot at the courthouse every year since then. I’d encourage anyone forced into mail in voting to do the same.

    Neighboring Washington counts any ballot postmarked by the vote date as valid. That’s even more ripe for fraud as it wouldn’t be inconceivable to have a postal employee to suddenly create some new postmarked ballots just in time to decide a race. We only need to look at the 2004 Washington Gubernatorial race where King County suddenly found 4 boxes of ballots that were “left under a stairwell” to sway the vote in the 3rd recount. My only conciliation is that while we hold onto the electoral college, it doesn’t matter how big a margin Biden / Harris pull in Washington State, so this round of finding boxes of ballets in time doesn’t matter in the upcoming presidential election.

  3. Now that Trump has attacked the postal service, the media need to swing into action and defend the postal service:

    My experience is exactly the opposite. I live out in the country, and I have a 1/5 mile paved driveway off the county road. UPS, FedEx, and Amazon will drop the package on my front porch. The USPS rules say my driveway meets the rules on front porch delivery, but the last two drivers have refused. Any package that doesn’t fit inside a mailbox will instead get a slip and I have to drive 18 miles round trip to the post office to pick up my package.

    I’ve looked into getting a secure box by the county road, but USPS is technologically behind all other carriers. UPS, FedEx and Amazon all support “standard instructions” for a given address. You can give them a lock box combination, and the driver will have those instructions pop up as they’re making the delivery. The USPS only offers instructions for each package and won’t retain them. Many times it isn’t possible to enter the instructions at the right time to have them for the delivery, and makes it worthless.

    • Matthew B.:
      Your experience with the USPS tracks mine almost exactly, except my long driveway is graveled but well maintained. The carrier had complained that my driveway was “impassible,” but her supervisor came out and checked it himself before instructing her to deliver parcels to my porch, regardless of the strip of grass growing down the center of my drive. The area postmaster finally responded to my repeated ranting about the carrier still not delivering parcels to my door by saying that yes she should do it and my carrier wasn’t a very good employee but the union made it nearly impossible to fire or even discipline anybody. I finally put up one of those BIG rural mailboxes that a good-sized parcel will fit into, to at least end the necessity of coming up my driveway for every package. So we have reached a truce on that point. I have zero complaints about UPS or FedEx deliveries out here; Amazon in my area still uses UPS or USPS depending on the parcel size / weight. One of my neighbors repurposed a big truck bed tool box into a parcel lock box that he bolted to his fence near his house. It seems to be working out for him. I’m at home most of the time so delivered items don’t usually sit unattended for long. .

  4. Electronic filing and service in the legal field has drastically cut the amount of outgoing mail we process in our office, as well.


  5. Congratulations on your COTD, Chris M. I also agree with your follow-up comment in this thread about others’ many excellent comments in the Open Forum thread. Yours certainly was a standout.

    Maybe it’s time to completely “cancel” the USPS role in processing voters’ ballots.

    Why not – as a preemptive move against the nation sliding yet further and irreversibly into shitholery and serial coup-dom of all kinds – designate and assign the military to count and verify integrity of ballots? As far as I know, every soldier still is obligated to utter, and utters, an oath to uphold the Constitution…oh. Never mind.

  6. A worthy rant, Chris.

    What baffles me is why we have to spend billions to get people to do things they are capable of doing without the extra money? There are hundreds of places to mail letters where poor people usually live. They could do without one or two low-usage conveniences.

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