Kingston, NY – The Hudson Valley Labor Federation planned a large rally in support of the United States Postal Service at the Cornell Street branch in Kingston on Tuesday, August 25, 2020. The large turnout of local residents, union members, and legislators, all were careful to keep masks on. Many stayed in cars. Local concerns included the slow-down of mail and packages.
Recent cuts to the postal service budget, restrictions placed on employee overtime and dismantling of valuable mail sorting equipment have been documented to have created extensive delays in the postal system. This is a hardship for many, particularly the elderly and others who are homebound and rely on the mail as a primary means of communication with the outside world. The Postmaster General was grilled by Congress earlier this week and several state Attorneys General have announced investigations into whether the Trump Administration and others are engaging in illegal voter suppression through their declarations and actions with regard to the postal service. At a time when the postal system is more important than ever to the citizens of the United States, the Trump Administration has acknowledged their intention to compromise postal operations by stripping away essential automation, slashing budgets and reducing services.
“The postal system, a part of our lives longer than that of the United States of America even existed, was founded by Benjamin Franklin and considered a driving force in the American Revolution. It has been an important part of our democracy and our history for over 250 years. When travel to the area was too dangerous, the US Mail allowed abolitionists to get their message into the Deep South, helping to bring about the end of slavery,” Assemblymember Kevin Cahill said, “Our soldiers fighting on foreign soil rely upon letters, cards and packages from their families as a lifeline home. And we are reminded again today how essential it is to our democracy, as millions of Americans are choosing to exercise their right to vote safely using the U.S. Mail, instead of possibly risking our health, their health and that of their loved ones by congregating in polling places,” He added
Demonstrations emerged across the Hudson Valley and the entire nation over the last several weeks as communities gear up to meet the unprecedented demand for absentee ballots which will rely on the post office for timely delivery. “Voting absentee is a tradition as old as this nation. It is the preferred method of voting for President Trump and his family. In spite of his inexplicable disdain for sharing the privilege with the general public, voting by mail is a secure and reliable method of carrying out our elections. It has long been the norm in several states, for those in the armed forces stationed outside the Country, as well as for those who are medically or physically unable to make it to the polls. It is absolutely necessary to ensure full participation in our democratic process this November, and the United States Postal Service needs every available resource to make that happen,” Assemblymember Cahill concluded.