Freehold, N.J.- Rep. Chris Smith, an early and strong advocate of increased appropriations and enhanced safety protocols at the United States Postal Service (USPS), said he will continue to speak out for funding reforms that will “help stabilize the post office and ensure it can properly process the surge of ballots anticipated this fall.”
Smith noted that in New Jersey, the general election will be conducted primarily through the vote-by-mail process (VBM)—similar to the primary—even though county clerks, county governing bodies, and the post office have expressed grave concerns about a November VBM.
Smith shares those concerns but “is committed to working to protect the integrity of the voting process,” he said.
“A critical aspect of securing our elections is ensuring our Nation has a robust and healthy United States Postal Service,” Smith said. “In the current time of COVID-19 stay-at-home orders, our economy and elections are even more reliant upon a strongly supported USPS,” he added.
“Having voted for HR 2—legislation that recently passed the House to provide $25 billion in additional funding for the USPS—I believe we must provide the backing and equipment needed so postal workers can safely and effectively do their jobs which includes processing voters’ ballots.”
In a series of pointed letters and similar conference call meetings over the last several months and dating as far back as April, Smith began pushing regional and national postal officials, as well as top Republican negotiators, to “provide much needed relief to keep this important service fully operational.”
In a May 5th letter to Republican COVID-funding negotiators—House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin—Smith joined other Republican congressmen and women urging an “appropriation of at least $25 billion to the Postal Service to alleviate some of the strain caused by the pandemic.”
In his April 9th letter, Smith pressed for enhanced safety protocols saying, “postal workers are a reliable presence in neighborhoods and help ensure the delivery of mail, medicines, food items and checks…and thus postal workers are particularly vulnerable to exposure and need full protections.”
In his July 24th letters addressed to US Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, Smith highlighted “serious problems my constituents have experienced regarding mail delivery” and questioned “disruptive” administrative changes reportedly under review by the US Postmaster General.
“I remain a strong supporter of proposals to provide $25 billion for the USPS and will continue to push for more COVID-19 safeguards for postal employees,” Smith said.
“We must not shortchange USPS operations and must work together to ensure that the USPS, and the brave men and women on the frontlines of postal operations, are fully supported in their work which is fundamental to our economy and democracy.”
Smith 2020 letters in support of the USPS 1) July 24, 2020 Smith Letter to Post Master General Dejoy RE Concerns on Proposed Changes; 2) July 14, 2020 Smith Letter to USPS.s. NJ Manager RE Delivery and Support Problems; (3) June 08, 2020 Smith Letter Follow up on USPS Meeting; (4) May 05, 2020 Letter to House Leadership Urging USPS Support and Relief; and (5) April 09, 2020 Smith Letter to USPS Ross-Rawlins re Safety Concerns