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US: Bernie Sanders says Trump’s attacks on mail-in voting a ‘crisis for US democracy’

Bernie Sanders has said Donald Trump’s attacks on mail-in voting and his administration’s efforts to block funds for the US post office amount to “a crisis for American democracy” ahead of the November presidential election.

The Vermont senator’s comments came as House Democrats accelerated their scrutiny of the cuts to the US Postal Service (USPS), which will be vital in the effort to minimize the risk to voters while the country still struggles to contain the coronavirus outbreak.

“What you are witnessing is a president of the United States who is doing everything he can to suppress the vote, make it harder for people to engage in mail-in balloting at a time when people will be putting their lives on the line by having to go out to a polling station and vote,” Sanders told NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday, referring to the coronavirus pandemic.

“This is a crisis for American democracy. We have got to act and act now.”

An unprecedented number of Americans are expected to vote by mail this year because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Over the last few months, states across the US have seen record numbers of Americans request ballots and submit votes by mail in primary and other elections.

However, there is concern over whether the USPS, which is already facing a severe financial crisis, will be able get ballots to voters and return them to election offices in time to have them counted.

The postmaster general, Louis DeJoy, a major Republican donor and Trump ally, has been accused of deliberately making further recent cuts to the USPS. Congressional Democrats announced on Sunday that DeJoy and Robert Duncan, the chair of the postal service’s board of governors, have been invited to a 24 August hearing of the House oversight committee. The hearing will investigate the recent removal of mailboxes and shutting down of sorting machines nationwide.

— the Guardian