VALPARAISO – Drivers honked and waved in support of the U.S. Postal Service as more than a dozen protesters waved signs on Saturday to support the postal vote and keep the 245-year-old agency afloat.
Jon Groth was one of the first to show up at the Valparaiso post office on Saturday morning to show his support for the postal service.
Groth served in the army from 1970 to 1972, stationed in Germany, he said. Members of the military posted postal votes.
The reactions on Saturday morning included “lots of thumbs up and waves,” said Groth. “I haven’t gotten the finger yet.”
A couple of drivers rolled down the windows and shouted “Trump 2020”.
President Donald Trump has spoken out against postal voting, saying it creates too many opportunities for fraud. He has provided no evidence to support his claim.
Trump-appointed Postmaster General Louis DeJoy is heavily invested in USPS competitors. Under his leadership, the postal service removed a number of letter boxes across the country and dismantled electronic sorting machines.
Some Americans have complained that mail delivery is slowing, which is delaying prescriptions and other vital mail.
Susan Swarner of the Valparaiso Democratic Committee emphasized the importance of protecting the postal service during the pandemic, especially in this year’s presidential election.
In Indiana, a postal vote that does not arrive by noon on election day will not be counted regardless of the postmark.
“We have to save our post office. It’s an iconic American system that has worked well for many years, ”said Sue Anderson.
Changes are made with no scientific or statistical data or data offered to support it, she said.
“I don’t know how to have a democracy if you can’t vote,” said Terry Anderson, Sue’s husband.
“I agree with the reduction in mail costs in line with the volume of mail that has been reduced since the invention of e-mail,” said Lou Denkle, but criticized “the arrival of all these magical cost reductions” without giving reasons for the action.
“It appears to be voter suppression in another way,” he said.
“I am very much against the privatization of basic services in this country,” said Drew Wenger.
Valparaiso Democrats are sending a mailer to registered voters to learn how to ask for a postal vote, he said.
“I guarantee it will be an election year with a very high turnout,” Wenger said.
A record number of postal ballots were cast in Porter County this spring, more than 15 times the 941 in 2016.
Indiana is one of the few states that requires postal voters to provide a reason why they cannot vote in person. This rule was lifted for the primaries, but not for the general election.
Wenger said personal tuning is problematic for the elderly as it increases the risk of exposure to COVID-19. The majority of election workers are also older.
“A lot of them cancel at the last minute,” he said.
Carol McCreery and Frances Saar are voting absent or earlier this year because they plan to be election workers. Saar has voted in the last 20 elections, she said.
“I think it’s terrible because it will interfere with the election and they are doing it on purpose in my eyes,” said McCreery.
“For the seniors who are only at home, the post is very important to us,” said Saar. “It’s fun to get these little surprise packages in the mail.”