SAN ANTONIO – U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro toured the San Antonio General Mail Facility on Wednesday after hearing concerns that local residents are receiving medicines, bills and other mail late.
Castro, a Democrat who represents Texas’ Congressional District 20, based in San Antonio, said the concerns are a product of recent cost-cutting measures newly appointed Postmaster General Louis DeJoy ordered following years of financial losses at the agency. Those included removing at least four letter-sorting machines from facilities in the Alamo City, which were capable of processing 35,000 pieces of flat mail an hour.
However, following backlash by the public and lawsuits over concerns of delayed mail, including potentially mail-in ballots, DeJoy is halting some of the operational changes to mail delivery until after the November election.
Castro said he was told by postal officials at the facility that despite the removal of six mail sorting machines, more than the initial four, at the facility on Perrin-Beitel Road, workers have been able to “do the best with what they have.”
The postal official said they “were told by Washington to remove the machines (because) it was a way to do their work and get rid of unnecessary equipment,” Castro said. The congressman said he saw a few of the disabled machines on the property.
San Antonio isn’t alone: hundreds of other sorting machines have been removed throughout the country in recent weeks. CNN reported that number could be as high as nearly 700, citing records they obtained from the postal service.
Castro said he will be heading to Washington D.C. on Saturday to vote on a bill that would stop the removal of sorting machines.
He blames the changes on President Donald Trump’s administration, saying the president wants to make it difficult for voting by mail in an election year that is expected to see higher rates because of the pandemic and fears of crowded public places.
“Trump has politicized the Post Office, unfortunately,” Castro said at a news conference following the tour. “(He) has been hostile to mail ballot voting.”
In Texas, mail-in ballots are only allowed for voters over age 64, those who have a disability or illness, people out of the county during the election or people who are eligible to vote but are incarcerated. Seven states have universal mail-in voting.
Castro said his mother, who has diabetes, is among local residents who had medicines arrive late.