Congressman Veasey Demands Texas Attorney General Safeguard Mail-In Voting Amid Trump Administration’s Illegal Attempts at Voter Suppression Using the Postal Service

Aug 18, 2020
Press Release

FORT WORTH, TEXAS - Today, Congressman Marc Veasey (TX-33), founder and co-chair of the Congressional Voting Rights Caucus, led his colleagues on a letter urging Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton to open an investigation into the Trump Administration’s illegal attempts at voter suppression. The Trump Administration has openly attempted to disenfranchise voters this November in the midst of the global pandemic by degrading the U.S. Postal Service.

The Veasey-led letter comes on the heels of the President’s recent public announcement opposing the U.S. Postal Service’s funding request for $25 billion as part of the coronavirus legislation pending in Congress—a move that would effectively dismantle the U.S. Postal Service and imperil their ability to deliver mail-in ballots across the country in a timely manner. Today’s letter responds to these claims by urging Attorney General Paxton to safeguard Texans’ right to vote by investigating the President’s attempts to obstruct the mail and thereby, suppress voters’ right to the ballot.

"The Trump Administration’s attempt to silence the voice of the American people by starving the U.S. Postal Service of critical emergency funding is disgusting and threatens our democracy,” said Congressman Marc Veasey (TX-33). “I am proud to lead my fellow Texans on this letter in urging Attorney General Paxton to end his silence on this critical issue and stand up to President Trump’s tyrannical attempts to suppress the vote." 

The following Members of Congress are co-signers of the letter: Escobar (TX-16), Vela (TX-34), Doggett (TX-35), Garcia (TX-29), Gonzalez (TX-15), Cuellar (TX-28), Castro (TX-20), Allred (TX-32), Fletcher (TX-07) and Green (TX-09).

The text of the letter can be found below:

 

The Honorable Ken Paxton
Attorney General
State of Texas
300 W. 15th Street
Austin, TX 78701

Dear Attorney General Paxton:

In light of the recent disturbing remarks on voter suppression by President Trump, we are writing to urge your office to open an investigation into this Administration’s attempts to dismantle the U.S. Postal Service, and thereby prevent Texans’ from exercising their right to vote in the midst of this global pandemic. Additionally, we are alarmed and deeply disappointed by your silence and inaction in regard to this threat of voter suppression. As this Administration continues to impose barriers to our constitutional right to vote, your office has the responsibility to investigate and prosecute any and all efforts to suppress it.

On Thursday, August 13, 2020, the President publicly admitted to opposing the U.S. Postal Service’s funding request for $25 billion as part of the coronavirus legislation pending in Congress because of his baseless and politically driven objections to expanding mail-in voting. The request for this funding came from the Postal Service, who asked Congress for these funds in order to continue meeting delivery standards during this unprecedented pandemic. On Tuesday, August 11, 2020—just days before the President’s remarks—the U.S. Postal Service General Counsel and Executive Vice President, Thomas J. Marshall, admitted in a letter sent to Congress that the Postal Service lacks the funding needed to fulfill its universal service mission and other legal obligations. President Trump’s opposition to providing the Postal Service with the funding necessary to carry out these obligations, and his support of operational changes that have slowed mail delivery raises serious concern as federal law prohibits the willful obstruction or retardation of the passage of the mail.

The President’s reckless attacks on the Postal Service during this critical time should be investigated immediately, as they not only threaten the essential work of the Postal Service but also the integrity of our elections this upcoming November. On Thursday, July 30, 2020, the Postal Service sent a letter to Texas Secretary of State Ruth Hugh warning Texas officials that some ballots cast by mail may not arrive in time to be counted for the November elections. The Postal Service will need adequate funding and resources to ensure voter’s ballots are counted. However, the President’s deliberate disregard of the Postal Service’s request for emergency funding has led to the implementation of cost-saving measures that could degrade delivery standards, slow the mail, jeopardize crucial deliveries such as the 2020 Census, and impair the rights of eligible Americans to cast their votes through the mail. These efforts to dismantle the work of the Postal Service—one of America’s most essential institutions—in order to curb Americans’ right to vote by mail, is a blatant tactic of voter suppression that cannot be tolerated.

The U.S. Postal Service has been the primary method for Americans to complete their Census forms, register to vote, and cast their ballots in primary elections throughout the coronavirus pandemic. During a time when we should be focusing our efforts on keeping voters safe, while protecting their right and accessibility to the ballot box, President Trump continues to create unnecessary hurdles for Americans who are already overwhelmed by an on-going global pandemic.

We welcome any effort from your office to combat the Administration’s irresponsible attacks on the Postal Service and the voting rights of our citizens. We look forward to hearing back from your office.