Mail-in votes make postal service a necessity

Published 3:58 pm Tuesday, September 8, 2020

We’ve said it before, but it bears repeating. The U.S. Postal Service is an organization we can’t afford to be without even if the numbers indicate we might no longer be able to afford it. We throw money in every direction and to every cause, why not adequately fund the postal service.
Many of Tennessee’s rural communities, many of them off the beaten path, depend on the postal service for their deliveries, which include medical prescriptions.
In a pandemic, it’s a necessity. And in an election year, it figures to play an even more vital role.
As states prepare for a national election where tens of millions of ballots will be cast, finding safe alternatives to the traditional Election Day is paramount.
Mail-in ballots offer the safety and convenience to those at risk but also have raised questions of ballot security and integrity. They also put additional pressure on the postal service, an organization that, while enjoying constitutional protection, is not without its share of warts.
The postal service’s inefficiencies have been well-documented in recent weeks to the tune of a $78 billion budget deficit over the last 12 years, out-of-control overtime payments and tardiness in deliveries that have earned new postmaster Louis DeJoy the nickname of “Louie Delay.”
DeJoy’s recent attempts at correction were met with accusations that President Donald Trump is trying to meddle in the election. It comes off as political bluster by Trump’s opponents, but the president does himself no favors by bemoaning the ills of mail-in balloting, while at the same time bemoaning the postal service’s inadequacies.
Appearing before a Congressional subcommittee recently, DeJoy promised no more changes in procedure at the postal service would take place before Election Day.
The postal service has never been perfect, but it’s been reliable. The president bears the brunt of the responsibility for not acknowledging these unusual circumstances, while admitting concessions are needed to allow as many citizens as possible the ability —and their right — to vote.
That includes voting by mail, which is already done in a number of states.
The postal service’s network of more than 31,000 post offices, stretching from Alaska to Florida, processes some 500 million pieces of mail daily, and much more during the holiday season.
We trust that if pushed into action come November, a half million postal workers would find a way to deliver completed ballots to election officials in a timely and orderly fashion, provided each state takes painstaking care in distributing them to those that apply for mail-in ballots.
Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 3. Tennessee offers absentee ballots by mail to voters who will be unable to vote in person. All other voters are expected to vote in person. Tennessee also offers early voting.
Tennessee is one of several states that require an excuse to cast an absentee ballot —such as being 60 years old or over, jury duty, observing a religious holiday, out of town or enrolled as a full-time student at a college outside the county.
To vote by mail in Tennessee, you must meet the eligibility requirements for voting absentee. Submit the request to your local election office. You should request your ballot as far in advance of the election as possible. The deadline to request a ballot by mail is (received by) Tuesday, Oct. 27.
We urge you if you meet the conditions of absentee voting and are unable to go to the polls, apply for an absentee ballot and vote by mail.

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