The USPS Defunding; What is it and Why is it Important?


Sam LaRussa

United States Postal Service Long-Life Vehicles lined up at the Waltham, Massachusetts mail handling facility this winter.

Isabella Schlerman, Writer

The USPS is one of the oldest programs still running in the United States; the first postmaster general, Benjamin Franklin, was sworn in back in 1775. The post office offers affordable and fast mail delivery services that have been crucial in the United States for centuries. 

Because of the Coronavirus, the post office is expecting an influx of mail during the November elections. Experts say that more than 70% of Americans could vote by mail in the upcoming election. Projections of how long the service can survive without additional funds have been changed from September 2020 to March or October 2021. This is already going to be difficult for the postal service, and because they lack an adequate budget, they are also worried about getting the mail in on time. 

Recently, President Donald Trump has refused to pass a Corona relief bill because of the extra funds for the postal service. He has said that he isn’t funding it to block out mail voting fraud. He said about the refusal to fund, “We want people to vote, but we want them to vote so when they vote it means one vote.” Democratic nominee Joe Biden has been very vocal about his disapproval of the President’s plan, calling it an, “assault on democracy.” He believes that the President is cutting a critical lifeline for many Americans to skew the elections in his favor. 

The pandemic is changing how people are going to vote in the November election. Many citizens are opting to vote by mail to decrease the risk of contracting the virus at the polls. The President’s refusal to fund the postal service is forcing people to go out in the pandemic. This isn’t just affecting people this year’s election though. Many Americans need to vote by mail every election. Remote areas with smaller populations aren’t able to open polls, so its residents have to vote by mail. If the USPS loses enough money, many people will lose this right. 

The postal service isn’t just important for this election, it’s also a lifeline for many Americans. The USPS is a hugely important service in rural areas, especially in Native American communities. The post office’s affordability and vow to deliver to every mailing address every day are necessary for many people to receive items from daily necessities to life-saving medication. Private companies like FedEx or UPS are way more expensive than the USPS, which is out of many people’s budgets. A FedEx envelope starts at $8.50 and UPS isn’t much cheaper either. Private companies also don’t deliver to every mailing address, specifically those in remote areas. People on disability can’t get up and go out to get their medication, they rely on the mail to deliver it to them every day. People in remote communities also rely on the USPS to deliver their daily necessities efficiently and affordably. 

The USPS isn’t just a dying mail service. For many people, it is a tie to the rest of the world that is about to be cut. The USPS is an important and necessary part of the United States, and its defunding is a blatant effort to sway the election and critically hurt Americans in the process.