Politics

Obama tears up Trump administration for "suppressing vote" amid a pandemic and urges early vote

Former US President Barack Obama

Alyssa Pointer | Reuters

Former President Barack Obama beat up President Donald Trump on Friday, accusing his administration of undermining the U.S. postal service and trying to suppress voices during the coronavirus pandemic.

"Everyone depends on the USPS. Seniors for their social security, veterans for their prescriptions, small businesses trying to keep their doors open," Obama said on Twitter in a number of posts.

"They cannot be collateral damage to a government that is more concerned with suppressing voting than suppressing a virus."

Trump's democratic predecessor urged voters in states with early voting options to "do this now".

"The more votes that are cast early, the less likely it is that there will be a last-minute crisis, both at polling stations and in states that allow postal voting. Then tell everyone you know," Obama said .

The tweets marked the latest broadside against the Trump administration of Obama, who has become more open in his criticism of the White House in the run-up to the 2020 elections.

During his eulogy at the funeral of former MP John Lewis late last month, Obama highlighted the efforts of "those in power" to "do what they can to prevent people from voting – by closing polling stations and targeting minorities and students with restrictive identification laws and an attack on our voting rights with surgical precision that is undermining even the postal service in the run-up to an election that will depend on ballots sent in to keep people from getting sick. "

The USPS has undergone intensive scrutiny in recent months. Legislators of both parties have raised concerns about drastic operational changes made by the new Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, a major donor of Republicans and Trump-supporting committees, that have led to reports of widespread delays in the mail.

Democrats in particular fear the changes could affect the 2020 presidential election between Trump and alleged Democratic candidate Joe Biden, which will see more voters than ever cast their votes by mail.

Trump has since opposed House Democrats' efforts to raise billions of dollars for the financially troubled post office as part of a coronavirus-related aid package. He has repeatedly and aggressively claimed that widespread postal voting would lead to catastrophic electoral fraud – although electoralists say electoral fraud is a rare occurrence.

In recent public statements, Trump has suggested that a universal mail-in vote cannot take place if he refuses to receive an infusion of $ 25 billion for the USPS and $ 3.6 billion for those of the Democrats approve proposed election funding.

Democrats say they are far more likely to vote for the president by mail than Republicans by mail, according to a new Change Research / CNBC poll of likely voters in battlefield states.

The poll, conducted between Aug. 7-9, polling 2,701 likely battlefield voters, found 64% of Democrats said they would vote by mail, compared with just 14% of Republican respondents and 36% of Independents. The survey has an error rate of plus or minus 1.9 percentage points.

The Trump campaign earlier this month sued Nevada for discontinuing its plan to send ballots directly to eligible voters. A handful of other states have already taken this step, and Governor Phil Murphy announced on Friday that New Jersey would also adopt a "hybrid" model in the November elections that includes sending ballots to "everyone".

Obama's tweets on Friday morning also referred to a recent podcast interview with former campaign manager David Plouffe, in which the 44th President directly criticized Trump.

"What we've never seen before is a president saying," I'll try to actively bring the postal service to its knees to encourage voting, and I'll be explicit about why I'm doing this, "Obama said. "It's kind of unknown, isn't it?"

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