As the Trump administration begins to implement cost-cutting operational changes that have already begun to delay services, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost is calling on President Trump to postpone Postal Service reforms until after the November election, according to a letter obtained by CBS News.
In the letter, dated August 16, Yost, a Republican, told the president that “the radical changes only weeks before early voting begins — however fiscally well founded — would place the solvency of the Post Office above the legitimacy of the Government itself.” Early voting begins in the state on October 6.
He cited reports that included the removal of sorting boxes and mail boxes and added that changes would likely face legal battles. Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose said in a press conference last week that the state would limit the county boards of elections to a single ballot drop box per county.
“These changes so close to the election are certain to give rise to litigation, which in turn will create a sense of chaos and uncertainty that will likely roll right into the early voting period — thereby de-legitimizing the thousands of winners of the November contests,” Yost wrote. The Columbus Dispatch first reported Yost’s letter.
LaRose also recently announced a 48-point guidance plan on voting safely to Ohio’s county board of elections. Recommendations include social distancing, requiring poll workers to wear facial coverings, routinely cleaning voting machines and allowing curbside voting.
Yost expressed confidence in Ohio election officials and their ability to safely and securely administer an election. He wrote that whatever reforms the president wants to implement “cannot come at the expense of our faith in the 2020 election.”
He recommended that Mr. Trump clarify his plan for operational change at the Postal Service and demand the Board of Governors postpone any changes until after the election.
Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown, a Democrat, criticized the president for his handling of the Postal Service in a virtual press conference on Monday. Brown noted that many rely on mail to receive medications and to pay bills, in addition to casting their ballots.
“It’s amazing the president of the United States thinks it’s okay to scare people, thinks it’s okay to begin the dismantling of this great institution that has a very productive workforce,” Brown said.
All registered voters in Ohio — 7.8 million — will be sent an absentee ballot request form around Labor Day. Ohio is a “no-excuse” absentee ballot state. The deadline to request an absentee ballot is October 31, three days before Election Day. Ballots must be postmarked before Election Day in order to be counted, and the deadline to register to vote is October 5.
The Postal Service warned Ohio in late July that because its absentee ballot request deadline is so close to Election Day, “there is significant risk that the ballot will not reach the voter before the state’s postmark deadline of November 2.” It suggested that voters should instead submit their requests far earlier, so that election officials receive them “at least 15 days before Election Day, and preferably long before that time.”
Cara Korte contributed to this report.
Read Yost’s letter here: