U.S. Rep. Cindy Axne calls on Postmaster General to resign for 'disenfranchising Iowans'
U.S. Rep. Cindy Axne called for the resignation of Postmaster General Louis DeJoy on Tuesday, citing mail slowdowns and “growing proof that these delays are being done intentionally to deny citizens their right to safely vote this fall.”
Axne, a Democrat whose district includes Des Moines and the southwest quadrant of Iowa, made the call during a video news conference with representatives from the postal workers' unions and a veteran in Des Moines who said his medication is being delayed because of the slowdowns.
“I have no faith that the current Postal Service leadership can be trusted to undo the damage,” Axne said. “Intentionally obstructing the right to vote is already illegal, but disenfranchising Iowans in a way that puts their health and security of my constituents at risk is abhorrent and unacceptable. I won't stand for it. He needs to resign.”
President Donald Trump said in an interview last week that he opposes funding for the Postal Service as part of his complaints about mail-in ballots. Axne cited that as proof of the anti-voting motivations behind the changes to the service.
Axne’s call comes soon after the head of Des Moines’ postal workers’ union said DeJoy’s cost-cutting mandates are slowing mail delivery in central Iowa. It’s a charge that’s been levied across the country and spurred House Democrats to call DeJoy and U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors Chair Robert Duncan to testify before the House Oversight Committee next week. Axne does not serve on that committee.
Trump appointed DeJoy, a Republican, in June. DeJoy donated about $360,000 to elect Trump during the 2016 campaign. The North Carolina businessman has also drawn scrutiny for still owning shares of the logistics company he formerly led and which does business with the Postal Service.
Changes coming but Axne says its too late
During Axne’s news conference, DeJoy released a statement saying changes he mandated, such as no overtime, “to secure the success of this organization and its long-term sustainability.”
Workers say those changes end up delaying delivery by resulting in mail not being loaded on trucks in time, or routes being incomplete at the end of the day. Last week, the Postal Service sent a warning to 46 states, including Iowa, that it may lack the capacity to ensure mailed-in ballots are received by election day.
In the statement, DeJoy said he would suspend the initiatives until after the election in order “to avoid event he appearance of any impact on election mail.”
Axne called his pledge “a day late and a dollar short.”
“Just like so many things that this administration is doing, once they make a change that they intended on implementing, and they see the public push back, they pull back,” Axne said. “But that isn't the right leader that we should have, we should have a leader who would never make that decision to begin with."
Nick Coltrain is a politics and data reporter for the Register. Reach him at email@example.com or at 515-284-8361.
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