Smith Campaign Slams Lewis for Continuing to Denigrate USPS, Standing by Trump as Delays Hindered Delivery of Prescription Drugs and Ballots

ST. PAUL [08/19/20]–Today, U.S. Senator Tina Smith’s re-election campaign condemned Republican Senate candidate Jason Lewis for continuing to denigrate the United States Postal Service (USPS) and cheering on President Trump while his administration dismantled the critical service Minnesotans rely on for prescription medications and their livelihoods.

Just this month, Lewis questioned the competency of the USPS, saying “we’re supposed to believe the USPS…is competent enough to handle hundreds of millions of ballots? I’ve got a bridge to sell you.” He’s also pushed false claims about voting by mail, claiming that “vote by mail is just the newest scheme Democrats have concocted to exploit this pandemic,” that “[vote-by-mail] is just the latest extension of ballot harvesting” and that it “makes it easier for people to commit fraud & ballot harvest en masse. Can’t let it happen.” In an email, the Lewis campaign also slammed the “woeful incompetency of the USPS.”

Minnesotans have been voting by mail since no-excuses absentee balloting was enacted in 2014. There is no evidence that there is widespread voter fraud–something that even Republican Sen. Mitt Romney admits.

While Postmaster General DeJoy recently suspended plans to reduce operating hours across several states, cut overtime and remove letter collection boxes, damage has still been done. A recent Star Tribune report detailed how a Vietnam veteran in Minnesota had to wait two weeks to receive his mail-order medicine, instead of his normal five-days.

While Minnesotans, especially those in rural areas, faced reported delays–whether for their medications or their ballots–Lewis continues to insult the USPS, question the Postal Service’s competency and push false claims about vote-by-mail.

“Once again, Jason Lewis puts his partisan views ahead of what’s best for Minnesotans–and in this case it’s at the expense of people receiving the life-saving medication and prescriptions they need, taking part in our democracy by voting by mail, and participating in the 2020 Census,” said Smith Campaign Manager Ryan Furlong. “Sen. Smith will do anything she can to defend and protect the Postal Service so Minnesotans get access to the services and medications they need, as well as the ability to cast their ballot by mail. That’s why she demanded answers and action to address the unacceptable lapse in service. She says that the Postmaster General suspending changes isn’t enough when the damage has already been done. Sen. Smith is pushing for Postmaster General DeJoy to reverse the changes and protect the integrity of the Postal Service.”

As a one-term Congressman, Lewis voted against a bill that averted a government shutdown and provided millions in funding for free overseas ballots for voters, mail for the blind, and to combat opioid trafficking through the mail. Lewis is also on the record praising President Trump’s proposed 2018 budget, which included $47 billion in retirement and operational cuts to the Postal Service and would have allowed them to make structural reforms that reduce mail delivery.

Sen. Smith has worked to get answers for Minnesotans by calling on Postmaster General DeJoy and the Northland District Director to provide answers about mail disruptions, including the one-week mail stoppage at a Minneapolis housing complex as reported by the Washington Post. She successfully pushed for the USPS Inspector General to open an investigation into DeJoy, and just this week Sen. Smith reached out to the USPS Board of Governors and made the case for them to use their authority to reverse changes made by the Postmaster General and supported by President Trump. Hours after DeJoy’s announcement that he was suspending the changes, Sen. Smith visited an Eagan mail-processing center and discussed the impact of disrupted mail delivery with USPS officials.

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