VALPARAISO – Drivers honked and waved in support of the United States Postal Service as more than a dozen protesters waved Saturday signs in support of the postal vote and to keep the 245-year-old public agency afloat.
Jon Groth was one of the first to show up at the Valparaiso post office Saturday morning to show his support for the postal service.
Groth served in the army from 1970 to 1972, stationed in Germany, he said. Members of the armed forces voted by absent post.
“I sent mail from Africa, from Europe and I don̵
Saturday morning’s reactions included “a lot of thumbs up and cheers,” Groth said. “I haven’t received my finger yet.”
Some drivers rolled down their windows and shouted “Trump 2020”.
President Donald Trump has railed against the vote in the mail, saying it creates too many opportunities for fraud. He has presented no evidence to support his claim.
Trump-nominated postmaster Louis DeJoy is heavily invested in USPS competitors. Under his leadership, the postal service removed a number of mailboxes nationwide and dismantled electronic sorting machines.
Some Americans have complained about the slowdown in mail delivery, delaying prescriptions and other essential messages.
Susan Swarner, of the Valparaiso Democratic Committee, stressed the importance of protecting the postal service during the pandemic, especially with this year’s presidential election.
In Indiana, an absentee ballot that does not arrive by noon on election day is not counted, regardless of the postmark.
“We have to save our post office. It’s an iconic American system that has worked well for many years, ”said Sue Anderson.
The changes are being made without any science or statistics or data offered to support it, he said.
“I don’t know how you can have a democracy if you can’t vote,” said Terry Anderson, Sue’s husband.
“I am in favor of reducing post office costs in line with the reduced mail volume since the invention of email,” said Lou Denkle, but criticized “the arrival of all this magical cost-cutting” without giving reasons for Actions.
“It seems to be the suppression of voters in a different way,” he said.
“I am strongly opposed to the privatization of essential services in this country,” said Drew Wenger.
Valparaiso Democrats are sending out a mailer to registered voters detailing how to ask for an absentee vote, he said.
“I guarantee you it will be a very high election year,” Wenger said.
A record number of absentee votes were launched in Porter County this spring, more than 15 times from 941 in 2016.
Indiana is one of the few states that requires absent voters to provide a reason why they cannot vote in person. This rule was revoked for the primary but not for the general election.
Wenger said in-person voting is problematic for seniors because it increases the risk of exposure to COVID-19. Most of the polls are also older.
“Many of them cancel at the last minute,” he said.
Carol McCreery and Frances Saar will either vote absent or earlier this year because they are planning to be poll workers. Saar has worked at the polls for the last 20 or so elections, he said.
“I think it’s terrible, because it’s going to interfere with the election, and they’re doing it intentionally, in my mind,” McCreery said.
“For those home-confined seniors, the post is very important to us,” Saar said. “It’s kind of fun to get those little surprise packages in the mail.”