President Trump calls the U.S. Postal Service “a joke,” and as millions face orders to stay home, his attacks on the agency could also threaten efforts to vote by mail, a method Trump has called “a terrible thing.” “We’re talking now about basic access to the ballot box,” says American Postal Workers Union President Mark Dimondstein, who notes “the Post Office is the most trusted federal agency.”
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.
AMY GOODMAN: I want to go to President Trump, before we end, talking about mail-in voting.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: You get thousands and thousands of people sitting in somebody’s living room signing ballots all over the place. No, I think that mail-in voting is a terrible thing. I think if you vote, you should go. And even the concept of early voting is not the greatest, because a lot of things happen. But it’s OK. But you should go, and you should vote. I think you should go and you should vote. You look at what they do, where they grab thousands of mail-in ballots, and they dump it. I’ll tell you what — and I don’t have to tell you, you can look at the statistics — there’s a lot of dishonesty going along with mail-in voting.
AMY GOODMAN: [inaudible] go on to ask him, “Didn’t you mail-in vote?” Which he did in Florida. But, Mark Dimondstein, let’s talk about this. In the time of the coronavirus pandemic, I mean, we see what happened in Wisconsin, the fiasco around voting, when people were afraid to go out to vote. The issue of mail-in voting, increasingly significant in this critical election year, how is it threatened? What does this mean?
MARK DIMONDSTEIN: Well, look, we’re talking now about basic access to the ballot box and defense of our cherished and hard-fought right to vote. And the reality is, the Post Office is the most trusted federal agency, 91% in the last Pew Research poll last week, obviously also reflecting a new and great appreciation for what postal workers are doing during this crisis. But we’ve been servicing the people of this country on vote by mail and the information around balloting, voter registration and so on, for decades and decades. And the states that have mandatory vote by mail have absolutely no fraud. So that’s just not true. And so, if people are going have true access to the ballot box, we’re going to have to have vote by mail. And that’s been really brought home in this tragic crisis. And if we don’t have a United States public Postal Service, we will not be able to have vote by mail. And anybody that thinks voting can take place on the internet and take place safely, that’s a pipe dream. The internet, in all aspects, can be easily hacked. Mail cannot be. So, it’s a great way. People are voting voluntarily that way, long before this crisis, in California —
AMY GOODMAN: And they don’t have to pay, of course, when they’re sending in their vote by mail —
MARK DIMONDSTEIN: No.
AMY GOODMAN: — because we have a U.S. Post Office, unlike the private corporations.
MARK DIMONDSTEIN: That’s right. That’s right. It actually saves the cities, states, counties money. It works well. It increases voter participation. And just the opposite of thousands of people getting together filling out each other’s ballots, it actually gives people a chance to make a more informed vote, to think about it, but to have access to the ballot box. The last time I went to vote, last November, was a three-hour wait at the polling place. And, of course, our elections are on a workday, so it’s much more hard — it’s much harder for working people to vote.
So, it’s a thrust towards more democracy, defense of our democratic rights. And obviously, this pandemic has brought home that if we’re going to have true access to the ballot box — or more access to the ballot box, because we really don’t have true access now — vote by mail is definitely the way to go. It was before. Now it’s very, very clear. And postal workers are ready to continue to serve the people of this country in all sorts of ways, including that defense of our democratic right to vote.
AMY GOODMAN: Mark Dimondstein, we want to thank you for being with us, president of the American Postal Workers Union. We go from the Post Office to education in this country. Stay with us.