Trump’s Handpicked Postal Service Chair Has A Long History Of Voter Suppression

Written by on August 24, 2020

President Donald Trump’s choice for a key Postal Service place, Robert M. Duncan, as soon as had a really completely different job: steering the Republican Celebration whereas it undertook a few of its most brazen voter suppression schemes.

Duncan is now the chair of the Postal Service board of governors, however he beforehand served as normal counsel after which chair of the Republican Nationwide Committee from 2002 to 2009, a time when the committee and its state counterparts oversaw an unprecedented escalation of voter disenfranchisement efforts in swing states.

From 2004 to 2006, when Duncan was the committee’s normal counsel, get together officers challenged the eligibility of a minimum of 77,000 voters, a 2007 report by the nonpartisan group Challenge Vote discovered.

Because it occurs, one of many get together’s favored techniques relied on the U.S. mail. In 2004, Republicans in Ohio, Florida and Pennsylvania despatched 1000’s of nonforwardable letters and postcards to pick voters — significantly minority voters — and used the mail returned as undeliverable to give you voter registration problem lists. 

Duncan’s historical past is the newest alarm bell for these fearful that Trump is making an attempt to undermine the U.S. Postal Service to be able to win reelection.

The Postal Service group that Duncan has chaired since 2018, the board of governors, chosen Louis DeJoy to be postmaster normal after Trump’s treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, reportedly urged him strongly. DeJoy is a Republican megadonor who has given cash to Trump and has overseen what voting rights advocates and Democrats stated is a mass disenfranchisement marketing campaign towards voters who plan to forged their ballots by mail.

It was Duncan who raised DeJoy’s title to Mnuchin as a attainable candidate for the job, The New York Instances reported Saturday.

A White Home spokesperson didn’t reply to HuffPost’s request for remark from Mnuchin.

Roughly 80 million voters are anticipated to take action within the upcoming election, with supporters of Joe Biden planning to vote by mail at a a lot increased price than supporters of Trump.

Trump has signaled that he’s blocking emergency Postal Service funding to be able to thwart an election by mail: “They want that cash to be able to make the put up workplace work so it could take all of those hundreds of thousands and hundreds of thousands of ballots,” Trump stated on Aug. 13. “But when they don’t get these two gadgets, which means you’ll be able to’t have common mail-in voting.”

DeJoy is the primary postmaster normal in many years with no prior company expertise. Since his Might appointment, DeJoy has slashed time beyond regulation hours and ordered the removing of automated mail sorting machines. 

The modifications are inflicting unprecedented delays in mail deliveries, based on information experiences.

The company additionally warned dozens of states that it could not assure its previous observe of giving excessive precedence to mail-in ballots, which means 1000’s of ballots might arrive at polling locations too late to be counted.

In April, considered one of Duncan’s fellow Postal Service governors resigned from the board in protest, saying that the administration’s “ruinous” insurance policies are meant to warp the mail right into a “political device.”

Accountable.Us, a progressive-leaning authorities watchdog group, on Monday referred to as on Duncan to resign, given his historical past of main the Republican Nationwide Committee whereas it oversaw a big effort to disenfranchise voters. 

“Your historical past raises important considerations about your dedication to making sure free, truthful and accessible voting,” the group stated in a letter. “You’ve got demonstrated that you simply should not have the requisite dedication to preserving our democracy and don’t have any place serving on the USPS Board of Governors, not to mention as its chairman, at this crucial time.”

Accountable.us stated that Duncan was a member of the Kentucky Republicans’ government committee at a time when county Republicans dispatched ballot watchers to predominantly minority neighborhoods.

A Postal Service spokesman didn’t reply to HuffPost’s request for remark from Duncan.

The observe the Republican Nationwide Committee perfected below Duncan is named “voter caging.” Along with utilizing bulk-mailing campaigns, state Republican events used software program and dispatched ballot watchers to neighborhoods the place individuals of coloration are within the majority to compile lists of voters weak to having their registrations challenged. Between 2004 and 2007, Republicans focused voters in a minimum of 11 states.

Duncan’s position within the voter caging operation will not be clear. A number of the efforts had been laundered by means of state Republican events, presumably as a result of a previous federal courtroom ruling barred the committee from mounting most sorts of voter registration challenges. (That ruling was the results of an unlawful voter-caging marketing campaign the committee oversaw within the 1980s.)

However emails from 2004 that the Florida Republican Celebration by accident forwarded to a parody web site confirmed that the Republican Nationwide Committee was concerned. In a single e-mail, Florida Republicans despatched the committee lists of voters titled “caging.xls” and “caging1.xls.”

Underneath Duncan, who rose from normal counsel to Republican Nationwide Committee chair in 2007, the committee additionally challenged the courtroom resolution that blocked it from mounting voter registration challenges.

In 2006, the Home Judiciary Committee subpoenaed Duncan for paperwork relating to the RNC’s position in President George W. Bush’s politically motivated firing of 9 attorneys normal. At the very least three of the fired attorneys normal had been dismissed partially as a result of they refused to take up voter fraud circumstances compiled by Republicans, an inspector normal’s report later discovered. One was changed by a former Republican Nationwide Committee official who labored immediately on the voter-caging effort.  

The Bush administration saed that government privilege prohibited Duncan from answering the subpoena, and Duncan by no means did.


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