Following Pressure From Tester, USPS Pauses Mail Collection Box Removal in Montana

Following pressure from U.S. Senator Jon Tester, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) today paused its removal of mail collection boxes in towns across Montana.

“Dependable mail service is a cornerstone of life in Montana, and I am glad USPS listened to me and the chorus of voices who spoke loudly in opposition to this harebrained scheme that would have cut off Montanans’ access to critical postal services like paying their bills and voting in upcoming elections,” Tester said. “But the fight is not over: Postmaster DeJoy still owes Montanans an answer on why mail collection boxes were removed in the first place – and I’m going to continue holding him accountable until he reinstates the reportedly dozens of mail collection boxes that were removed across our state.”

Tester called on DeJoy earlier Friday to provide transparency on USPS’ decision to remove mail collection boxes in Bozeman, Lewistown, Billings, and Missoula. Tester also sent a letter to DeJoy Thursday pushing for answers about the USPS’ actions. The USPS has yet to respond.

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.