What you missed in Columbus for Aug. 17

Joel Oliphint
joliphint@columbusalive.com
Michael Miller has been delivering the same rural USPS mail route in Gallia County, for the past 30 years.

As 2020 continues to embrace its dystopian timeline, the United States Postal Service — the federal agency that delivers mail to your mailbox via mail carriers — has now become controversial. 

In the leadup to the November election, President Trump has repeatedly and baselessly claimed that if mail-in voting is widely used, voter fraud could be rampant. With an expected record high number of mail-in ballots for this election due to coronavirus social distancing measures and other precautions (as many as three-fourths of Americans will be eligible to vote by mail), Democrats are calling on Postmaster General (and Trump mega-donor) Louis DeJoy to testify before Congress in the coming weeks. In the wake of DeJoy's recent cost-cutting measures, USPS has reportedly notified 46 states — including Ohio — that citizens who request their absentee ballots near the deadline likely won’t receive them in time for their vote to be counted.

On Sunday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that she would call her colleagues back from summer recess to vote on legislation that would block recent changes at USPS. Also on Sunday, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows appeared to be open to emergency funding to help the Postal Service deal with the anticipated surge of mail-in ballots.

In Columbus, the Dispatch is reporting that blue mailboxes have been removed from East Broad Street. [Update 8/17 9:55 a.m.:This story has now been removed.] The paper also looked at the ways in which rural Ohioans depend on the Postal Service

***

The Democratic convention begins today, with Republican and former Ohio Gov. John Kasich set to virtually deliver pre-recorded remarks tonight, along with Sen. Bernie Sanders and First Lady Michelle Obama. “I was hoping he would change, but he has not united us; he has divided us,” Kasich, speaking of Trump, told the Dispatch. “Biden is a guy who can unify us. It’s his personality; that’s who he is.”

***

Robert Trump, the president's younger brother, died at age 71 on Saturday.

***

Over the weekend, the parents of Ohio State football players asked the Big Ten to reconsider its cancellation of the fall season, and yesterday morning Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields created an online petition asking the conference to reinstate the season. 

***

The Blue Jackets dropped another one to Tampa Bay; the Lightning now lead the seven-game series 2-1. The two teams meet up again today at 3 p.m.