Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost is calling on President Donald Trump to postpone changes to the United States Postal Service until after the November election, according to a letter obtained by TiffinOhio.net.
In a letter to the president on Sunday, Yost, a Republican, told Trump that “the radical changes only weeks before early voting begins — however fiscally well founded — would place the solvency of the Post Office above the legitimacy of the Government itself.”
“These changes so close to the election are certain to give rise to litigation, which in turn will create a sense of chaos and uncertainty that will likely roll right into the early voting period — thereby de-legitimizing the thousands of winners of the November contests,” Yost wrote in the letter to Trump.
Yost acknowledged the need for Postal Service reform, but urged Trump to wait until the election is over.
“Voters who decide to rely on states’ absentee voting laws, whether in Ohio or elsewhere, deserve to know that their votes will be counted. Regardless of how one feels about universal mail ballots, these absentee ballots are already the law and rely on an effective (if not a cost-efficient) United States Postal Service.”
Yost cited reports of changes to the Post Office, including removal of sorting equipment and mailboxes, adding that those moves will likely lead to lawsuits.
“These operational changes will also spawn post-election litigation by the losing party. Even if the challenges are ultimately unsuccessful, those who take office will do so under a perceived cloud, and will serve with unrelenting headwinds from those who do not feel that they lost in a fair defeat,” Yost wrote.
All registered voters in Ohio will be sent an absentee ballot request form around Labor Day. The deadline to request an absentee ballot is October 31, three days before Election Day. Ballots must be postmarked before Election Day in order to be counted, and the deadline to register to vote is October 5. Early voting begins in the state on October 6.
Yost said he is confident in the ability of Ohio’s election officials to administer a secure and fair election that provides “expansive safe and effective voting opportunities.”
“Ohio voters can easily share my confidence,” Yost wrote. “If you will allow me a point of personal privilege, I am proud to say that federal courts have praised Ohio for making it so easy to vote — praise that legislators and secretaries of state, past and present, well earned.”
Yost also mentioned the fact that thousands of military personnel serving overseas rely on absentee voting to cast their ballots in elections. “As a nation, we have a responsibility to make sure that those who protect our democracy also have the ability to participate in it.”
“And with concerns over the COVID-19 epidemic, many of our senior citizens are other people who are medically vulnerable will vote absentee this year,” Yost wrote. “But most important of all, the people of this country, for the good of the country, need to know that all lawfully cast votes will be timely delivered so that they can be counted.”
The Postal Service warned Ohio in late July that because its absentee ballot request deadline is so close to Election Day, “there is significant risk that the ballot will not reach the voter before the state’s postmark deadline of November 2.” It suggested that voters should instead submit their requests far earlier, so that election officials receive them “at least 15 days before Election Day, and preferably long before that time.”