Demonstrators gathered outside of the downtown Klamath Falls post office Wednesday to advocate for funding for the U.S. Postal Service ahead of the November election.
More than a dozen protesters stood with signs about protecting the right to vote and the right to services, while a handful of people stood across the street from them with Donald Trump campaign signs. Some demonstrator signs outside the post office were critical of Trump.
For Emily Strauss, though, the post office isn’t a partisan issue.
“The post office is as nonpartisan an issue as one can get,” she said. “I would really like to emphasize that this is not about anybody but keeping the post office working. Everybody uses the post office. We need a functioning post office and one that is not politicized and that is not hostage to politics,” she said. “That’s why I’m here.”
Local candidates Faith Leith and Hugh Palcic joined the demonstrators outside the post office to advocate for better access to mail-in voting during COVID-19.
Pati Horton said she showed up with her Trump sign to defend the president.
Although those in front of the post office said they are protecting the right to vote for both Democrats and Republicans, Horton said the post office is overburdened due to increased usage during COVID-19 and can’t handle nationwide mail-in voting.
On Tuesday the Postmaster General halted further cuts until after the November election. But some Klamath protesters were calling for a reversal of damage already done, including the removal of some mail boxes.
Leith noted the fact that the USPS is the only mail service for some rural areas where private companies like FedEx and UPS don’t deliver because it’s not cost effective.
For some, supporting the post office wasn’t only about ensuring resources for mail-in voting. They noted that many people still depend on consistent mail service to receive things like checks and medications, and cuts to services to discourage mail-in voting can impact other needs from the post office.
“This is democracy at its best and worst,” Nancy Sheehan said.