Eshoo says removal of mail boxes isn’t just a local problem, it’s taking place nationwide

Rep. Anna Eshoo stands next to a mailbox in downtown Palo Alto in this Aug. 18 file photo.

BY SARA TABIN
Daily Post Staff Writer

Congresswoman Anna Eshoo said the proposed removal of blue Postal Service mail boxes in Palo Alto is part of a larger problem across the country coming under threat.

After putting up notices that some blue mailboxes in south Palo Alto were going to be removed last week, the Postal Service backtracked after the Post began asking why the mailboxes would be removed.

Retired judge and former Palo Alto councilwoman LaDoris Cordell suggested the removal might be a form of voter suppression, but USPS spokesman Augustine Ruiz said that the blue mailboxes are often removed for lack of use and then installed in areas that are growing.

Speaking outside of Palo Alto’s post office on Hamilton Avenue today, Eshoo said outcry from people across the country has prevented post boxes from being removed. She said boxes were unbolted and hauled away on the backs of trucks in different states.

“It was because of the outcry in those states that the postmaster general announced that that would be temporarily stopped,” said Eshoo. “People’s voices matter.”

Eshoo denounced what she says are attacks on the postal service by President Trump. She said he appointed Louis DeJoy as postmaster general so that DeJoy could dismantle the postal service.

She said her constituents rely on the postal service to get deliveries, including cancer and heart medicine, on time. She said the postal service will also be critical for delivering millions of ballots this November.

Eshoo said the lack of support for the postal service by the federal government amounts to “election theft.”

Lisa Ratner of the League of Women’s Voters said mail-in ballots don’t help one party over the other but they do increase voter turnout overall.
Eshoo said California is in a better place than other states for mail-in voting because the state is already planning to send every eligible voter a mail-in ballot.

Other states rely more on in-person voting, which might be an issue with the coronavirus pandemic.

“When you receive that ballot, fill it out immediately,” Eshoo said. “Don’t wait, fill it out and mail it by Oct. 15.”

Congresswoman Jackie Speier, D-San Mateo, also held a press conference outside the Belmont Post Office about the Postal Service today.

Jim Irizarry of the San Mateo County Elections Office said ballots must not be postmarked past election day. Under current state law, ballots will be counted if they arrive up to 17 days after election day as long as they are postmarked before election day. He said the county uses signature matching to prevent election fraud from mail-in ballots.

9 Comments

  1. The Postal Service has seen its volume and revenues drop for years, and it needed to be downsized, like any business in that situation. I haven’t seen Eshoo or other Democrat propose any solution for the Postal Service other than throwing more tax dollars at it. Now that the Postal Service is in a financial crisis, and has only 77 days of cash on hand, they want to blame Trump and turn this into a scandal. The real scandal is the AWOL Democrats who had a chance to fix the Post Office and couldn’t be bothered. Sorry, Anna, I see what you’re doing and it’s not helpful. Come up with a longterm plan to save the Post Office and serve its customers. Playing politics like this should be beneath you.

  2. While I do not yet know how many ballot envelopes fit in an OFFICIAL BALLOT DROP BOX (at a time), CA state law only requires one such box for each 15,000 registered voters. County election officials can set up more – if they have them. Local candidates will want to push for early registration (there are many adult citizens not registered at their current addresses) and then early voting in October using the few drop boxes. The Postal Service cannot be trusted under Donald Trump and his rich donor-Postmaster General. The evident plan of the Trump campaign is to reduce the number of ballots cast and counted so Trump can win without majority support. Voter suppression matters most in the Presidential race in swing states. Trump will lose California 2-1. But he could yet be re-(s)elected in the Electoral College with slates of delegates from close swing state victories.

  3. I received in the mail today (August 19) in Mountain View first-class mail from San Jose (mailed on August 5). That is the mail service for receiving ballot materials in October for the November 3 election? How many voters will then risk mailing back their completed ballots? We need more OFFICIAL BALLOT DROP BOXES in every county (and across America). But don’t expect it.

  4. Gary, I won’t dispute your anecdote, but anecdotes don’t make a rule. I mail hundreds of items every week, and most local deliveries take one or two days. The service is excellent. Yes, there are exceptions. Every once in a while you read a story in the paper about a letter that was mailed in World War II that wasn’t delivered until last week. But if mail service is so slow, how come bills always arrive on time. I don’t care about the national politics involved in this, but it’s not right to criticize the work done by these letter carriers.

  5. I am not criticizing letter carriers. Just pointing out this delayed mail – wondering if it reflects the slowdown experienced else. Letter carriers do not want to sabotage voting or vote counting. Only the Trump campaign has sabotage on its agenda.

  6. The removal of mail boxes has been going on for decades, and is not political. With email, fewer people are using first class mail, and the labor costs of picking up the mail daily from numerous locations are high.

    • We do occasionally use the blue mail boxes to mail items we need to know will be picked up at 5pm (such as the taxes), but I have to wonder how much they are used in nearby Redwood City. USPS picks up mail from everyone’s neighborhood mailbox within 24-48 hours. The blue boxes are simply redundant. Would you trade keeping the blue boxes for not having mail picked up from your own? I wouldn’t. If the blue box disappeared, I’d simply drive the letter to the nearest USPS. I’m not even sure how long it’d take me to notice

  7. Seriously? This is what our Democrat party is focusing on? When we need you to fund the impacts of COVID-19 in our state and counties and permit our people to hang on with an unemployment supplement and permit our businesses and schools to re-open, you come back into session to fund the Post Office? You all left Washington without addressing the immediate needs of your constituents during this umprecedented time and adding costs to legislation that is better dealt with as a separate issue. You did not propose legislation that can be supported–we Dems have ourselves to blame for this.

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