Lightfoot accuses Trump of starving Postal Service to drive down mail-in votes

“Because of the failure of this administration to keep Americans safe from COVID-19, we are wisely encouraging people to vote by mail,” the mayor said, adding that “we cannot allow this administration to undermine the postal service.”

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Mayor Lori Lightfoot took part in an online panel discussion Monday on the first day of the Democratic National Convention.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot took part in an online panel discussion Monday on the first day of the Democratic National Convention.

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Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Monday accused President Donald Trump of “mounting a full-out assault on every pillar of democracy,” by starving the U.S. Postal Service to drive down mail-in votes and making people afraid to vote by mail.

“This is real, folks. It’s not an exaggeration. It’s not a conspiracy theory,” the mayor said during a virtual roundtable on election integrity that helped kick off the Democratic National Convention.

“Vote by mail is the lane we need to run in” to avoid a “repeat of what we saw in primary after primary, where people literally risked their health just to cast a vote,” Lightfoot said.

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“Because of the failure of this administration to keep Americans safe from COVID-19, we are wisely encouraging people to vote by mail. ... That’s why we cannot allow this administration to undermine thePostal Service in the way that it’s clearly trying to drive the Postal Service to its knees. Making mail service unreliable. Putting postal workers at risk by changing hours and stretching into the night. And failing to give the post office the resources it needs to fulfill its basic mission,” Lightfoot said.

What Democrats need to do to win the “most consequential election of our lifetime” with the “soul of democracy on the line” is to convince people that it is “safe to vote — not dangerous” because election integrity is “the highest priority,” the mayor said.

“They are drumming up a climate of anxiety that is driven by their desperation to hold onto power. You can see the Senate majority eroding and the Oval Office is slipping through their grasp. Their current efforts reflect their desperation and their fear. To them, this means de-funding the post office. This means closing polling places in neighborhoods, purging voter rolls and re-imposing thinly disguised poll taxes, disenfranchising voters released from incarceration,” she said.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has threatened to summon the House back to Washington to undo the Postal Service cuts she believes are driven by Trump’s disdain for mail-in voting and his efforts to cast doubts about the integrity of voting by mail.

During an interview Monday on “Fox & Friends,” Trump was asked if he’s “sabotaging” the Postal Service to pull the rug out from under mail-in voting.

“No, I’m just making it good,” he said.

“This has been one of the disasters of the world, the way it’s been run. It’s been run horribly. And we’re going to make it good.”

During Monday’s panel discussion, Lightfoot urged her fellow Democrats to take several steps to “learn the lessons of history.”

They include:

• Using “pressure points at the local level” to oppose postal cuts and support postal workers.

• Convince people their mailed-in votes will be counted.

• Keep polling places open and line up election judges and polls watchers to staff them.

• And get every vote counted as quickly as possible.

“If it’s days later and we still don’t know, that’s chaos that plays into the hands of Trump,” she said.

Asked what keeps her up at night when thinking about the November election, Lightfoot cited the “chaos and uncertainty” being created about “whether mail-in voting has integrity.” She called it a “horrible distraction.”

The mayor said Democrats need to “think creatively” about ways to ease voter fears, in part by making polling places accessible outside downtown. She discussed possibly putting locked boxes in dozens of branch libraries where people can return their ballots if they’re concerned about dropping them in the mail.

And what can rank-and-file Democrats do to guarantee an honest election?

“Be a validator for true information. Spread the word on where and how people can vote. If a groundswell turns around the misinformation campaign sowing concern and fear about the integrity of the election process, it will do a lot to calm peoples’ nerves,” Lightfoot said.

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