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Old 04-12-2020, 02:20 PM
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How does the post office being privatized affect voting by mail


both in states that want to expand it and states that haven't expanded it yet.

If the USPS becomes privatized, can the GOP file lawsuits to destroy the vote by mail systems in places like Oregon and Washington?

Why would a privatized USPS affect voting by mail? Why can't a privatized USPS, or DHL, UPS, Fedex, etc. be used for voting by mail?

Also does the constitution mandate there be a public mail carrier system? I heard this but don't know the details.
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Old 04-12-2020, 02:35 PM
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Also does the constitution mandate there be a public mail carrier system? I heard this but don't know the details.
The Constitution certainly directly and explicitly gives the federal government the power to have a public mail carrier system (whether or not it mandates it):
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[The Congress shall have Power...]To establish Post Offices and post Roads... Article I, Section 8, Clause 7
You could certainly argue that there is not only a "right" but some kind of "duty" there as well for the federal government to provide for and guarantee some mechanism or system whereby every citizen is able to communicate with his or her fellow citizens throughout the country, including a degree of assurance that such communications will be free and unhindered and not subject to unreasonable delay, censorship, or interception, either by the government itself or by private interests.
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Old 04-12-2020, 03:14 PM
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The Constitution certainly directly and explicitly gives the federal government the power to have a public mail carrier system (whether or not it mandates it):

You could certainly argue that there is not only a "right" but some kind of "duty" there as well for the federal government to provide for and guarantee some mechanism or system whereby every citizen is able to communicate with his or her fellow citizens throughout the country, including a degree of assurance that such communications will be free and unhindered and not subject to unreasonable delay, censorship, or interception, either by the government itself or by private interests.
That's a pretty broad interpretation. Yes it has the power to create a post office, but the flip side of that is that they could not do so if they choose. I mean, they have the power to grant letters of marque but have not done so since the mid 1800s. Are they required to do that?

They have the power to borrow money on the credit of the United States, but must they do that? Is a balanced budget unconstitutional?
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Old 04-12-2020, 03:32 PM
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That part of my post was inspired by some of the subsidiary readings at that "Founder's Constitution" link.

I mean, that same "Congress shall have Power" language is used for "grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal" and also for "raise and support Armies" and "provide and maintain a Navy". Those are all powers of the federal government, but I think it's fair to say that the federal government has a duty to see to the national defense of the United States.

Congress has chosen, since the 19th century, to provide and maintain a navy, but not to grant letters of marque and reprisal, and of course that's fine. But if Congress ever just started telling coastal regions of the U.S.A. which were being pillaged by the Neo-Vikings "Hey, y'all are on your own" I think it would be fair to say that the federal government was being grossly negligent in the performance of its duties, that the constitutional order had essentially broken down, and that the Republic was in all likelihood dead.
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Old 04-12-2020, 04:27 PM
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Fedex already moves a lot of US mail and has for a while , they deliver to your local PO who brings it to you.

https://about.usps.com/news/statements/022317.htm
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Old 04-12-2020, 04:28 PM
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A national post office is one of those things that just make sense.

However, if conservative ideologues want to oversee the destruction of it, I’m sort of leaning toward H.L. Mencken’s definition of democracy, which is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.

If you like your access to broadband in rural areas, I’m certain you’ll love your access to the mail.

Being a city dweller, there’s no skin of my nose if you want to make basic services worse for people who aren’t me.
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Old 04-12-2020, 05:22 PM
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Fedex already moves a lot of US mail and has for a while , they deliver to your local PO who brings it to you.

https://about.usps.com/news/statements/022317.htm
The only thing Fedex drops off at your local post office are parcels that are not financially expedient for them to deliver. The USPS utilizes their air fleet for parcel and some flat mail transportation, including express mail.
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Old 04-12-2020, 06:28 PM
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Germany privatized their post office in 1995. Their PO used to run their phone system too.
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Old 04-12-2020, 06:42 PM
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Keep in mind that to corporatists and conservatives, "We the People" do not exist. Amerikkka contains owners and owned. Owners can act with little consequence. The owned deserve rights about equal to livestock and household pets. Universal postal service? Pshaw. Let the peasants use carrier pigeons.
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Old 04-12-2020, 08:24 PM
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Since the Postal Service hasn't had any federal funding for many years, isn't it already privatized?
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Old 04-12-2020, 08:28 PM
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Keep in mind that to corporatists and conservatives, "We the People" do not exist. Amerikkka contains owners and owned. Owners can act with little consequence. The owned deserve rights about equal to livestock and household pets. Universal postal service? Pshaw. Let the peasants use carrier pigeons.
I agree. If you haven't seen the documentary 'requiem for the american dream' (on places like youtube and amazon prime) by Noam Chomsky I felt it was very very enlightening.

it talks about how historically there has always been a class struggle between the industrial class and the working class, and how the industrial class generally prefers fascism, but if there is a democracy they want as small a voting base as possible.

I can't do the documentary justice by talking about it, but its really worth watching.
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Old 04-12-2020, 08:29 PM
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Since the Postal Service hasn't had any federal funding for many years, isn't it already privatized?
My impression, which could be wrong, is that the GOP may want the USPS to fail both because no private carrier has access to as many rural areas as the USPS, but also due to some belief that a private mail carrier can't be trusted to carry ballots, which could be used to nullify voting by mail options.
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Old 04-12-2020, 08:56 PM
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My impression, which could be wrong, is that the GOP may want the USPS to fail both because no private carrier has access to as many rural areas as the USPS, but also due to some belief that a private mail carrier can't be trusted to carry ballots, which could be used to nullify voting by mail options.
The GOP want to create a for-profit private company so that they can personally get a cut of the action. The three places where post offices have been significantly privatized are in Portugal, Germany, and Japan, and if I'm not mistaken, they're all corporations with some government involvement; it's not different companies competing against each other in an open "free" market. I'm sure they could try that here but it probably wouldn't be worth it for companies to send a rinky dink letter to some farm out in North Dakota. Someone would need to do that. They just want to be able to capitalize on the USPS so they can take a cut, and maybe put some private sector lackey in charge who can rob the company blind.
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Old 04-13-2020, 07:51 AM
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I still think that Trump thinks it's a way to stick it to Jeff Bezos and Amazon. For Mitch and the boys it's a way to control/cancel mail in ballots.

And shit, get a cut of the action. Many made money off the Pandemic by selling before telling anyone what they knew what was going on. Nothing is past these assholes.
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Old 04-13-2020, 08:29 AM
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But if Congress ever just started telling coastal regions of the U.S.A. which were being pillaged by the Neo-Vikings "Hey, y'all are on your own"
And we could call it the Rescript of Honorless.
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Old 04-13-2020, 12:02 PM
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My impression, which could be wrong, is that the GOP may want the USPS to fail both because no private carrier has access to as many rural areas as the USPS, but also due to some belief that a private mail carrier can't be trusted to carry ballots, which could be used to nullify voting by mail options.
One of the GOP's core groups are rural voters. No private carrier will ever do house-to-house deliveries like the USPS. Having it fail will hurt a core group of voters. Why exactly do you think they would want this?
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Old 04-13-2020, 12:32 PM
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One of the GOP's core groups are rural voters. No private carrier will ever do house-to-house deliveries like the USPS. Having it fail will hurt a core group of voters. Why exactly do you think they would want this?
I agree - I don't think they're out to screw rural voters, who would be the real losers if the USPS were to be displaced by Amazon, FedEx, UPS, etc. I don't think these companies want to get involved in small parcels; their business model is on sending larger packages that they can charge good money for. If they do get involved in regular mail, they would presumably have to be subjected to mountains of regulations which they probably get around now.

With regard to elections, I agree that the GOP wants to screw democrats out of votes, but it's hard to map out a coordinated state-by-state strategy in which that actually succeeds, particularly given that some GOP-leaning states also have mail-in voting. What they want is to create a situation in which they can cast doubt on the legitimacy of voting by mail. They want to disrupt voting.
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Old 04-13-2020, 03:46 PM
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One of the GOP's core groups are rural voters. No private carrier will ever do house-to-house deliveries like the USPS. Having it fail will hurt a core group of voters. Why exactly do you think they would want this?
Since when has the GOP cared on whit for their core voters. You know how many of their core voters case about ACA but they are still trying to destroy it.

My prediction is that 5 justices on SCOTUS have already decided to kill the ACA, but they will wait till after the election to release their ruling.
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Old 04-13-2020, 04:05 PM
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Since when has the GOP cared on whit for their core voters. You know how many of their core voters case about ACA but they are still trying to destroy it.
No, they’re not trying to kill the ACA. They’re trying to kill Obamacare. Those are two totally different things!

Quote:
My prediction is that 5 justices on SCOTUS have already decided to kill the ACA, but they will wait till after the election to release their ruling.
I think it might depend on the post-virus climate as far as finances and medical expenses go. If there’s widespread bankruptcies both personal and hospital, I can see conservatives holding off on eliminating the ACA for fear they’ll open the door to even more socialized medicine.
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Old 04-15-2020, 01:26 PM
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That part of my post was inspired by some of the subsidiary readings at that "Founder's Constitution" link.

I mean, that same "Congress shall have Power" language is used for "grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal" and also for "raise and support Armies" and "provide and maintain a Navy". Those are all powers of the federal government, but I think it's fair to say that the federal government has a duty to see to the national defense of the United States.

Congress has chosen, since the 19th century, to provide and maintain a navy, but not to grant letters of marque and reprisal, and of course that's fine. But if Congress ever just started telling coastal regions of the U.S.A. which were being pillaged by the Neo-Vikings "Hey, y'all are on your own" I think it would be fair to say that the federal government was being grossly negligent in the performance of its duties, that the constitutional order had essentially broken down, and that the Republic was in all likelihood dead.
I agree with you. Any Congress that allowed us to be invaded because they refused to maintain an army or navy would be derelict in their duty.

However, I understood your argument to be that because the power to create a Post Office was an enumerated power than it followed that it therefore was mandatory under the Constitution that Congress exercise it, not just that it would be poor policy or some, all, or many of us might consider it a dereliction of duty.

There is a difference, and I'm not sure which one you are advocating. But, again, if the grant of power to do it means that Congress must do it, does that mean a balanced budget is unconstitutional, or that if they haven't declared war in a sufficient amount of time that they must? Does saying that they have the power to declare war mean that we must always be at war, or at least, when we are at war, issue letters of marque?
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Old 04-15-2020, 03:37 PM
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My impression, which could be wrong, is that the GOP may want the USPS to fail both because no private carrier has access to as many rural areas as the USPS, but also due to some belief that a private mail carrier can't be trusted to carry ballots, which could be used to nullify voting by mail options.
You are close- the nasty reasons are that UPS and FedEX donate heavily to the Republican party, and postal workers tend to vote Democrat.

Expect a Christmas card to your Aunt in Mayberry to run you $5 or so.
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Old 04-15-2020, 05:28 PM
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I agree with you. Any Congress that allowed us to be invaded because they refused to maintain an army or navy would be derelict in their duty.

However, I understood your argument to be that because the power to create a Post Office was an enumerated power than it followed that it therefore was mandatory under the Constitution that Congress exercise it, not just that it would be poor policy or some, all, or many of us might consider it a dereliction of duty.

There is a difference, and I'm not sure which one you are advocating. But, again, if the grant of power to do it means that Congress must do it, does that mean a balanced budget is unconstitutional, or that if they haven't declared war in a sufficient amount of time that they must? Does saying that they have the power to declare war mean that we must always be at war, or at least, when we are at war, issue letters of marque?
My argument is that there's a reason the Framers made having a post office (and post roads) an enumerated power of the federal government. The technology may have changed--putting a piece of paper inside another piece of paper that's been cunningly folded and physically sending it across country is no longer as important a communications protocol as it once was, natch--but I believe the reasons behind it do remain important to a 21st century republic, just as they were for an 18th century republic.

Even if Congress completely abolished and/or privatized the USPS, and also made no provision for ensuring that ALL citizens of the republic were able to securely and conveniently communicate with each other, I doubt anyone would have standing to sue, or that the courts would strike down such an act of Congress (or inaction by Congress) the way they would a federal anti-blasphemy law or a law outlawing private ownership of firearms.

But I do think that would be extraordinarily poor policy, and a dereliction of duty on the part of Congress (whereas I don't think failing to issue letters of marque and reprisal is either poor policy or a dereliction of duty).
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Old 04-15-2020, 07:07 PM
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My argument is that there's a reason the Framers made having a post office (and post roads) an enumerated power of the federal government. The technology may have changed--putting a piece of paper inside another piece of paper that's been cunningly folded and physically sending it across country is no longer as important a communications protocol as it once was, natch--but I believe the reasons behind it do remain important to a 21st century republic, just as they were for an 18th century republic.

Even if Congress completely abolished and/or privatized the USPS, and also made no provision for ensuring that ALL citizens of the republic were able to securely and conveniently communicate with each other, I doubt anyone would have standing to sue, or that the courts would strike down such an act of Congress (or inaction by Congress) the way they would a federal anti-blasphemy law or a law outlawing private ownership of firearms.

But I do think that would be extraordinarily poor policy, and a dereliction of duty on the part of Congress (whereas I don't think failing to issue letters of marque and reprisal is either poor policy or a dereliction of duty).
I'll admit that I haven't extensively studied the history of the post office, but generally Art 1, Sec 8 powers had nothing to do with individual rights. They had to do with the structure of government.

The anti-federalists (or the federalists, I always get them confused) did not want a Bill of Rights because they believed that the limited powers in Art. 1, Sec 8 simply precluded the federal government from infringing upon individual rights. IOW, there is no power there to pass a law about a national religion, so no need for a BOR. The other side, quite correctly, noted that Congress may view those rights broadly and start infringing.

But regardless of that, the original intent of Congressional power was structure. You see that the framers wanted a limited national system: no state regulation of interstate commerce, no individual state standards of weights and measures, no individual state post offices, etc.They envisioned a national commerce, national post office, and privilege and immunities while travelling state to state, but all of the rest of the internal matters left to states. Imagine mailing a letter from Massachusetts to South Carolina and having every state along the way tack on postage, for example.

So although the free exchange of sealed letters by an agency of the government has been a benefit to citizens, I don't see why it must continue indefinitely as a matter of constitutional law either in letter or in spirit. And if you think about it, when you deposit a letter in the mail, you are giving custody of it to the government, which may mass intercept your private communication in a future tyranny. Wouldn't it be much "freer" to give the letter to a private company who is contractually obliged not to disclose its contents?

You already see that with email. If the government wants to read your email, they have to subpoena an ISP who usually fights it in court. If the government had it, they would just read it and have that information anyways. Maybe you could fight to suppress it (I can recall the 4th amendment jurisprudence on email/mail searches at the moment) but giving it to a private company adds an extra layer of protection from a snooping government.
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Old 04-16-2020, 03:40 PM
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Went to mail a gas bill this AM and there was a green canvas covering over my normal mailbox. Had to put it in my home box with the "flag up". Just one data point here.
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Old 04-16-2020, 07:31 PM
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Germany privatized their post office in 1995. Their PO used to run their phone system too.
True. Perhaps relevant to this discussion, a "standard" letter costs almost $1 to mail.

Would the government pay for postage for mail-in ballots? If they didn't how is that not a poll tax?

Also from what I saw when I was last in Germany in rural areas you didn't really have a personal mail-box. You had to go to a communal shop/box to drop off your letters. But maybe I didn't really understand the system. And maybe that isn't a big deal to rural voters...
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Old 04-17-2020, 09:54 AM
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Large numbers of ballots from "certain areas" will just disappear?
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Old 04-17-2020, 10:25 AM
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Would the government pay for postage for mail-in ballots? If they didn't how is that not a poll tax?
I'm all for postage-paid mail voting, but I don't see why it would be a poll tax. You could always just drop the ballot off yourself. Yes, that requires you to arrange transportation, but so does old-fashioned in-person voting. All forms of voting have some incidental cost to the voter. Reducing those as much as possible is good civics but that doesn't mean it's a Constitutional mandate.

Last edited by Lord Feldon; 04-17-2020 at 10:30 AM.
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