The United States Postal Service traces its roots back to 1775, before the U.S. Constitution was written or ratified. Benjamin Franklin was the first postmaster general.
The USPS is included in Article I of the Constitution and became its own federal department in 1792. For many years, starting in 1872, the USPS was a cabinet-level department.
In 1971, the USPS became an independent agency under the executive branch – answerable to the President of the United States and an independent board that oversees its operations.
The USPS is one of the most democratic (note the lowercase letter d) institutions in the country as it’s required to serve all Americans at a flat rate.
With a turn to buying online, companies like Amazon have made the postal service busier than ever. We’ve come to rely on sometimes daily packages that include a non-urgent household item or a very urgent medication.
For those who have a U.S. Passport, your application was more than likely mailed along with your Social Security card to the State Department. That agency then returned your Social Security card with your Passport – your proof of citizenship should you leave the country.
In Georgia, you don’t even get a real driver’s license after you work your way through the bureaucracy, pay your fee and have your disappointing picture taken. You get a paper copy of your license for the card to be mailed to you later.
For all these things, we trust the postal service. It’s been there as long as we can remember, and we expect it to be there forever.
Due to the pandemic, I voted by mail for the first time. While I believe I could’ve put on a mask, stayed six feet away from people and stayed perfectly safe, voting by mail clearly reduced the risk of being exposed to COVID-19.
More importantly, we’ve all been in a voting booth and found a race, referendum or amendment we weren’t expecting. Who do you support for the Georgia Supreme Court? Can you name any members of that court?
By voting by mail, you can take the time to research candidates and issues in real time as you make your decisions. I trust that a lot more than blindly checking a box.
In Georgia, no one is going to be forced to vote by mail. Early voting will happen. Polls will open Nov. 3. Others will vote by mail. It’s your choice, but please, don’t lose trust in a cornerstone institution of our nation because of one election season. We need the USPS, and the USPS needs our support.