BOISE — There are no U.S. Postal Service collection boxes set to be added or removed in Idaho for the rest of 2020.
In response to questions about reports of post office boxes being removed nationwide, a statement from USPS spokesman Floyd Wagoner said the agency regularly evaluates where collection boxes should be according to the volume of mail and other factors. When boxes will be removed, the agency leaves notices informing customers and allowing them to comment.
“This process is one of the many ways the Postal Services makes adjustments to our infrastructure to match our resources to declining mail volumes,” a statement from Wagoner said.
Wagoner said because of customer concerns, the Postal Service will postpone removing boxes for the next 90 days. The same statement also said no boxes would be added or removed through the end of 2020, but because he was not permitted to do an interview with the Idaho Press to answer questions this discrepancy was not addressed.
Over the weekend, viral images of post office collection boxes being removed around the country set off a social media firestorm after President Trump said he would not support the $25 million in emergency funding the Postal Service needs to support mail-in ballots during the November election. Trump has been a sharp critic of mail-in voting in recent months, which he said would lead to “one of the greatest frauds in history,” according to the Washington Post.
Election fraud is exceedingly rare in all forms of voting. A database of instances of election fraud maintained by the conservative Heritage Foundation reports there have only been roughly 1,200 instances of election fraud of all types in the past 20 years. Of these, 204 involved the fraudulent use of absentee ballots and 143 resulted in criminal convictions.
Voting by mail is being touted as the safest way to vote amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but it is not a new phenomenon. All 50 states currently allow some portion of the population to vote by mail, including Idaho where there is no excuse needed to request an absentee ballot.
U.S. Sen. Jim Risch, R-Idaho, said in a statement Monday he supports funding USPS so it can serve Americans, and he was confident the agency and Idaho officials would ensure all ballots in the November election will be counted properly.
“The US Postal Service provides a necessary service to millions of Americans, particularly those in rural communities, and it must be provided sufficient funding to perform its duties,” Risch said in the statement. “Americans deserve a system that is efficient and reliable, and I will continue to support efforts to reform the USPS so that it has the resources needed to be self-sustaining and viable in the long-term.”
Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, also released a statement, saying he shares his constituents’ support for reliable and efficient mail service.
“While it is clear that fundamental reforms are necessary to ensure the continued viability of the USPS, such efforts must not negatively affect the needs of the American people, especially during this unprecedented time,” he said.
Rep. Russ Rulcher and Rep. Mike Simpson did not return requests for comment by press time.