That takes care of that.
Postmaster General Louis DeJoy proved his mettle Tuesday.
DeJoy was appointed in May by the Board of Governors of the United States Postal Service. The board is a responsibility of the executive branch of government and appointed by the president. Only five members of the nine-member board may be affiliated with the same political party. The board chose DeJoy, a businessman and Republican fundraiser.
The new postmaster inherited an independent agency struggling with financial solvency. In the past dozen years, the agency waded through the recession of President Barack Obama’s initial term and competition from the internet — which caused business from lucrative first-class mail to drop dramatically.
DeJoy came into office with the intent to turn the Postal Service right side up. His initiatives include changing post office hours, removal of postal equipment, closing facilities and limiting overtime, and he intended to implement these immediately.
Not so fast.
The novel coronavirus in a national election year immediately confronted DeJoy. The virus prompted social distancing and any number of precautions to prevent its spread. But how would voters cast their ballots while observing these precautions? Especially in cities where thousands stand in lines for hours? And what if they were in quarantine because of the virus?
The answer became an increase in voting through the Postal Service. Ballots would be mailed to eligible voters, they would vote, and post their ballots, and the mail service would return them to the government to be tallied.
The president immediately stated that voting by mail would lead to corruption. His opponent and his opponent’s supporters called out DeJoy’s new initiatives preceding the election.
The president and Congress added to the controversy by wrangling over funding for the Postal Service. The tug-of-war continues.
Then DeJoy announced Tuesday that he would postpone his initiatives until Nov. 4, after the election.
That takes the wind out of the sails of Trump’s opponents, and removes the Postal Service from suspicion in regard to pre-election initiatives that could be viewed to favor Trump. Or maybe Democratic challenger Joe Biden; who knows for sure which would have benefitted most? The Postal Service will operate as usual for seven more weeks— for better or worse.
But, the question of fraud — people voting other people’s ballots or voting ballots that never reach their rightful owner — remains a concern for Trump and, perhaps, even for Biden. No one knows who might commit fraud, and it isn’t a crime solely of one political faction. History attests to that.
Yet, DeJoy’s move accomplishes as much as it can — removing the Postal Service from suspicion of interfering with an election. And the new postmaster shows that, while he is a Republican, he is the postmaster general first.
That’s the spirit needed in America today.