WAYNE, NJ – On Friday afternoon, a group of about 70 people gathered outside the post office on Valley Road in a “Rally For the USPS.” They held signs printed with slogans such as: “Save The Mail/Save The Vote,” “Save The Post Office,” and “Stamp Out Evil.” The group waved at cars and cheered whenever someone honked in support.
The event was organized by NJ 11th For Change, the Blue Wave, Our Revolution, NJ and the Wayne League of Women Voters. This was one of many events supporting the financially beleaguered US Postal Service happening in several towns in New Jersey and across the nation.
These rallies stemmed from the comments President Donald Trump made about the USPS, where he threatened to withhold financial funding. In November, the election will be held largely by mail and the President has been vocal in his distaste for mail-in voting.
“I find it hard not to connect the dots,” said Sal Shifano who was in attendance at the event. “We have probably the most important election of our lifetime coming up, and they’re just playing games with the post-office.”
“People are enraged right now over what’s going on,” said Judy Kelly, the Chairperson of the Board for NJ 11th For Change. “We’re not going to have our constitutional rights trampled on and taken away from us without saying something. We’re in the middle of a pandemic and vote-by-mail is essential.”
A microphone was set up with a portable speaker and several people addressed the crowd. Leslie Bockol, the President of NJ 11th For Change read a statement written by Mikie Sherrill.
“The President and his Postmaster General are intentionally damaging the USPS,” wrote Sherrill. “We know that the Postmaster General has displaced top leadership and ordered changes to overtime delivery and Mail sorting machines.
The very heart of our democracy, our election system, is dependent on a strong USPS. We need to ensure Americans will have their vote counted and that they can have confidence in the outcome of the election.”
Passaic County Clerk, Danielle Ireland-Imhoff also shared a statement.
“As we continue to navigate the difficulties of the COVID-19 pandemic the Postal Service is more crucial now than ever before,” Ireland-Imhoff said in the statement. “While voting by Mail may be new to many, it is the safest and most secure way to maintain democracy while preserving public health during COVID-19.”
“The Post Office isn’t getting money that it needs to ramp up in order to keep up with the millions of ballots that will be coming in,” said Dianne Douthat. “This isn’t just about the post office, which is a service to American citizens, it’s also about the integrity of our votes. I believe that our country is better when everyone exercises their right to vote.”
TAPinto Westfield reported on the rally at their post office and interviewed Charles LaRosa, 78, of Westfield, who stood apart from the protestors. He, too, is concerned about the election — but for reasons different from those expressed by the protestors. LaRosa wants the option of a traditional in-person vote for everyone.
“If they prefer to vote in person, let them go to a high school or polling location, sign-in, enter a secure booth and vote on a computer screen,” LaRosa said. “It works. They have been doing it for years. Obviously, they would take the necessary precautions: masks, gloves, sanitizer in the interest of protecting public health.”
Matt Kadosh of TAPinto Westfield contributed to this article.