Louis DeJoy, the Greensboro businessman and GOP mega-donor, may think of himself as a big shot with a lofty federal government appointment — U.S. Postmaster General.
But to President Donald Trump, DeJoy is just another convenient bit-player in his dangerous and unrelenting effort to disrupt the 2020 elections.
For the millions DeJoy has spent to cozy up to Trump and Republican power brokers what has he gotten in his few weeks atop a government bureaucracy? Deserved blame and ridicule for rash and inefficient management decisions that have delayed mail delivery; Enraged postal service workers; and scorn and ridicule from members of Congress. They contend rather than fixing conditions that led to the service’s debt, DeJoy is exacerbating them. His congressional critics say that rather than enhancing the postal services status as an independent quasi-governmental agency, he’s made it subservient to Trump’s personal political whims.
DeJoy has also become the recipient of what certainly must be unwelcome scrutiny of his personal business and political donation practices. National news outlets, including The Washington Post and New York Times, uncovered practices that “left many employees feeling pressured to make political contributions to GOP candidates — money DeJoy later reimbursed through bonuses.”
North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein has said the reimbursement of someone for a political contribution is against the law and that “any credible allegations of such actions merit investigation by the appropriate state and federal authorities.” Common Cause North Carolina has filed a complaint with the State Board of Elections asking it to “immediately” look into the “alleged campaign donation scheme that may have violated North Carolina law.”
But the questions over DeJoy’s performance leading the Postal Service and his campaign donation activities are tangential — a mere sideshow — to something far greater and worrisome.
DeJoy’s bumbling has further highlighted the serious concerns over the service’s ability to handle the expected significant increase in mail-in voting due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It has played into Trump’s scheme to manufacture reasons to doubt our election’s legitimacy.
So far in North Carolina, it appears that request for mail-in ballots are both being handled expeditiously by local Elections Boards and mail service has been delivering requested ballots in a timely manner.
Regardless, President Trump is determined to concoct an election crisis and plant distrust.
First, he raised unfounded suspicions of potential fraud in connection with mail-in voting. Then he comes to North Carolina and tells voters to break the law — calling on voters to cast ballots by mail and then on Election Day try to vote again — to see if efforts to double vote are detected.
He’s sought to raise doubts about the legitimacy of counting votes cast whether those delivered by mail or cast in person at early voting sites. Any votes NOT counted immediately after polls closed, Trump is seeking to suggest, are questionable and not legitimate.
In North Carolina, laws and procedures set in place by the State Board of Elections, will have every ballot received on or before Election Day, tabulated immediately when the polls close. Mail-in ballots received after 5 p.m. Election Day will be counted only if they are post marked on or before Nov. 3 and received by Friday, Nov. 6.
Donald Trump’s efforts are, frankly, un-American. He should be working to encourage people to vote, working to expedite their ability to cast ballots and providing the kind of honesty and transparency that sustains confidence in a free and fair election system that has been a model for the world.
Donald Trump may win the election. Perhaps it will be Joe Biden. That decision will be determined by voters — not by Trump’s disruptive tactics to steal it.
Today’s editorial is from Capital Broadcasting Company in Raleigh. The views expressed are not necessarily those of this newspaper.