Following Reports of Removed Collection Boxes, Tester Pushes Postmaster General for Answers
Reports indicate boxes may have been removed from Bozeman and Lewistown, with potential plans to remove boxes from Billings
Following reports that U.S. Postal Service (USPS) collection boxes may have been removed in towns across Montana, U.S. Senator Jon Tester is continuing his push to hold the USPS accountable by requesting Postmaster General Louis DeJoy provide transparency about whether any boxes have been eliminated, and if so, where and why.
“I write today regarding reports of United States Postal Service (USPS) collection boxes being removed from numerous communities in Montana,” wrote Tester. “If true, this seems to be occurring without any transparency or communication with impacted Montanans.”
Tester’s office received reports that USPS collections boxes may have been removed from Bozeman and Lewistown and that there may be plans to remove boxes from Billings, leading Tester to request that Postmaster DeJoy respond to the following questions by August 18th:
- “Has the USPS removed any collection boxes in the past 30 days in Montana?
- If so, please provide the number of units removed by town.
- Specifically, my office received reports that units were recently removed from Bozeman and Lewistown.
- Are there any ongoing orders to remove any collection boxes in Montana?
- For instance, my office received reports that the USPS is in the process of removing units in Billings.
- If the USPS has recently or is planning to remove collection boxes, what is the rationale being used?
- When were the last density tests conducted?
- Will you make the results of those tests and any other data related to the removal of units public?
- How have you communicated with the public and local elected officials to ensure there would not be a disruption in the critical service the USPS provides to these communities?
- Has the USPS recently reassigned or added collection boxes to improve accessibility?”
DeJoy recently reorganized top leadership at the USPS and has reportedly undertaken other policy changes that will lead to slower and less reliable mail delivery. Just today, President Trump said that he opposed emergency funding for the USPS and election operations because it would make it easier for Americans to vote by mail.
Tester has prioritized making sure the USPS has the resources it needs to continue its vital mail delivery services during the pandemic. This week, Tester wrote a letter to DeJoy urging him to reverse the decision to not automatically consider election mail First Class mail, which would increase the cost of elections for already budget strapped states and disenfranchise voters by increasing concerns they would not receive their ballot by election day or by causing them to be returned after the deadline. He also recently introduced bipartisan legislation to provide $25 billion in emergency assistance to help the agency recoup pandemic related losses and other operational expenses, and has pushed Senate leadership to make significant emergency investments in the USPS a part of any new coronavirus aid package, as well as to provide support and protective equipment for the agency’s employees.
Tester’s full letter can be found HERE.