Tester Statement on Confirmation that USPS Mail Collection Boxes Were Removed Across Montana

Senator: “Postmaster General DeJoy must immediately provide Montanans with an explanation for the actions of the USPS, or he can do it under oath before a Senate Committee.”

Following revelations from his letter yesterday bringing light to the removal of mail collection boxes across Montana by the U.S. Postal Service (USPS)—with plans to remove more—U.S. Senator Jon Tester released the following statement:

“Since ringing the alarm on the removal of collection boxes from communities across Montana, it has become clear that these reports are accurate. These actions set my hair on fire and they have real life implications for folks in rural America and their ability to access critical postal services like paying their bills and voting in upcoming elections. Postmaster General DeJoy must immediately provide Montanans with an explanation for the actions of the USPS, or he can do it under oath before a Senate Committee.”

Following reports that USPS collection boxes may have been removed in towns across Montana, Tester yesterday sent Postmaster General Louis DeJoy a letter requesting he provide transparency about whether any boxes have been eliminated, and if so, where and why.

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. Yesterday, 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.