By Miriam Raftery
September 17, 2020 (Sacramento) – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra warns that voters in California have been sent a mailer by the Trump administration stating that mail-in ballots must “be requested” and that voters must “add postage to the return envelope if needed.” Both statements are false.
“Both statements could lead to voter confusion. In California, mail-in ballots will be sent automatically to registered voters starting October 5th — and postage is not needed to return your ballot in our state,” Attorney General Becerra says.
This week, Becerra referenced the misleading mailer in California’s latest legal argument in a lawsuit that aims to protect the U.S. postal service from efforts by the Trump administration to slash services and slow down mail delivery for consumers.
The controversies arose after President Trump appointed Louis DeJoy as postmaster general. DeJoy, who previously worked 25 years for a competitor of the postal service, has faced conflict of interest questions. Since being named to head up the postal service, he has taken various controversial actions that include slowing down mail delivery in some areas, removing many postal sorting machines and mailboxes, and ordering that mail theft outside of post offices not be investigated.
DeJoy contends he is merely seeking to cut expenses to balance the agency’s budget, which unlike any other federal agency is required to pay post-retirement healthcare costs of its workers up front, per a 2006 law that set the agency on a path to financial unsustainability. A bill introduced last year to repeal the law failed to win passage due to Republican opposition.
His actions have prompted multiple lawsuits and a Congressional investigation in advance of the November election, when hundreds of millions of Americans will be voting by mail due to COVID-19.
Sources: CNN, Politico, Institute for Public Policy, Los Angeles Times, and an e-mail from Attorney General Xavier Becerra. See links above for details.