Congressmen blocked from inspecting postal facility ahead of vote-by-mail election

Numerous reports of discarded mail have surfaced in North Jersey in the leadup to November 3

On Oct. 19, Rep. Pascrell assailed USPS for blocking inspection of the Kearny facility.
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On Oct. 19, Rep. Pascrell assailed USPS for blocking inspection of the Kearny facility.

Three New Jersey congressmen are calling on the United States Postal Service to allow an inspection of a local mail processing facility after numerous reports of discarded mail.

Reps. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09); Albio Sires (D-NJ-08); and Tom Malinowski (D-NJ-07) are demanding the USPS allow an inspection of the Dominic V. Daniels Processing and Distribution Center after being denied entry on Oct. 19.

Located in Kearny, the center handles mail destined for the region, including Hudson County and neighboring areas.

The congressmen assailed the USPS’s refusal to allow members to assess USPS’s ability to carry out New Jersey’s ongoing vote-by-mail election.

North Jersey has been recently plagued by reports of mail found discarded and undelivered. A postal employee from Kearny was arrested on Oct. 7 after he was found to have dumped thousands of pieces of mail, including ballots, into dumpsters in West Orange and North Arlington.

On April 25, mail, including ballots for municipal elections, was discovered dumped in several apartment building lobbies in Belleville. On May 5, stacks of ballots strewn across the floor of apartment lobbies in Paterson.

Calling for an inspection

Rep. Pascrell, who represents New Jersey’s 9th Congressional District, including Secaucus and Kearny, has been critical of changes made to USPS operations under Postmaster General Louis DeJoy.

“The refusal of USPS officials to allow us to inspect the Daniels facility is a disgrace, and it is completely illegal,” Pascrell said. “I visited this same facility weeks before the 2018 midterms, and now they’re making up phony excuses to keep us out.”

Pascrell continued: “It has all the markings of Louis DeJoy, who should be hauled before a criminal grand jury for what he’s done. This isn’t Area 51 – our congressional delegation must have access to see if USPS can handle the millions of ballots being cast this election. And New Jerseyans have a right to know if their votes are secure. This isn’t politics: it’s about protecting our democracy from Trump and DeJoy’s arson.”

Sires, who represents the 8th Congressional District which encompasses much of Hudson County, said:

“The decision by USPS to refuse access to the Dominick V. Daniels Processing and Distribution Center in Kearny is deeply troubling. USPS taking active steps to deny entry to this facility is a perfect example of why my colleagues and I wanted to run an inspection. Ahead of the November election, when a record number of ballots are set to be sent by mail, it is crucial we ensure the integrity and ability of the postal service to faithfully and securely transfer these ballots. Our congressional delegation should be granted access to the facility so we can be certain that the ballots of New Jerseyan’s are being processed correctly.”

“The independent Office of the Special Counsel made it very clear that members of Congress should not be impeded from visiting federal facilities to conduct congressionally mandated oversight,” said Malinowski, who represents the 7th Congressional District. “For months we have been blocked from doing our job to ensure that the USPS is ready for this election. Today’s continued refusal is unacceptable, and Postmaster General DeJoy must be held accountable for his repeated attempts to disrupt mail-in-voting.”

Protecting the election

On May 21, Pascrell wrote to USPS Inspector General Tammy Whitcomb demanding an investigation into turmoil at the USPS, stemming from the alleged pattern of interference engineered by the Trump administration to destabilize the post office.

On Aug. 12, Pascrell again called on the USPS Inspector General to probe postal irregularities, releasing a spate of stories from North Jersey residents in the Ninth District describing the impact of Trump’s apparent attacks on the USPS.

On Aug. 14, Pascrell became the first member of Congress to call for DeJoy and President Donald Trump to be investigated by a state criminal grand jury for their actions concerning the Post Office, making a criminal referral to New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal alleging Trump and DeJoy are subverting state elections.

On Sept. 30, Pascrell led members of the New Jersey Congressional Delegation in a letter to Postmaster General DeJoy demanding an emergency visit to the Daniels Center in Kearny and requesting information on USPS’s ability to carry out New Jersey’s vote-by-mail general election.

On Oct. 7, Reps. Pascrell, Sires, and Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ-11) called for the USPS Inspector General to open a new probe into the abandoned mail in North Jersey, as well as of USPS’s illegal blocking of congressional access to postal facilities.

For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at disrael@hudsonreporter.com.