How does the post office being privatized affect voting by mail

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.

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.

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.

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…

Large numbers of ballots from “certain areas” will just disappear?

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.