As Democrats push for universal mail-in ballots and the Trump administration rejects their demands, the Left has started claiming President Donald Trump is trying to steal the election (by maintaining the system that was already in place) and going so far as to remove or lock mailboxes so people can’t vote.
Routine U.S. Postal Service maintenance has now been used as evidence of wrongdoing by the Trump administration. The latest example comes from former NBA player Rex Chapman, who on Sunday posted a tweet with a photo of locked mailboxes in Burbank, California, and claimed Trump and the GOP were threatening American democracy.
“Burbank, California: In your entire life have you ever seen a LOCKED mailbox at the USPS? Now you have. A disgrace and immediate threat to American democracy. Shame on them. Shame on the GOP. Where are you @senatemajldr?” Chapman tweeted.
The photo was instantly debunked, with many people responding to Chapman’s tweet with an article from 2016 (while Barack Obama was still president) which explained why the mailboxes were locked.
“Turns out that fishing, or stealing mail, has become so common that postal officials have been retrofitting boxes around the San Fernando Valley and other areas to make them more tamper proof, said Richard J. Maher, spokesman for Post Office operations in Los Angeles and Orange counties,” The Los Angeles Daily News reported in April of 2016.
Chapman responded to a tweet from Twitchy editor Greg Pollowitz declaring the 2016 article was not the reason why the mailboxes were locked now. Twitchy then tagged Chapman in a tweet thread from actress Zandy Hartig, who personally debunked the claims that the Trump administration was locking mailboxes – in August – to steal the November election.
“This is my post office. These mailboxes are open on the other side, you just have to get out of your car to mail them. It’s been this way for months. This isn’t part of the purge,” Hartig tweeted.
This is my post office. These mailboxes are open on the other side, you just have to get out of your car to mail them. It’s been this way for months. This isn’t part of the purge. https://t.co/UMyPUiQfGv
— haunted dog (@zandywithaz) August 17, 2020
She then provided a video of herself walking around the mailboxes to show the slots on the other side where people could still put their mail.
None of this deterred Chapman, who continued to retweet people – such as rapper and actor Ice T – who shared his tweet or provided pictures and video of the locked mailboxes (without noting the slots in the other side where mail could still be inserted).
This is the latest conspiracy theory from the Left, who previously tried to claim Trump was removing postal boxes in an effort to keep people from voting in November. In reality, mailboxes are routinely moved and removed due to demand. In 2009, The Washington Post reported that mailboxes have been “disappearing” for decades.
“Across the country, stalwart blue “collection boxes” like the one on Flack Street in Wheaton are disappearing. In the past 20 years, 200,000 mailboxes have vanished from city streets, rural routes and suburban neighborhoods — more than the 175,000 that remain. In the Washington area alone, half the blue boxes that were on the streets nine years ago have been pulled up and taken to warehouses to molt in storage or be sold for scrap, leaving 4,071 mailboxes remaining in the District, Northern Virginia and the Maryland suburbs,” the outlet reported.
The Post included a graph with its article showing that the volume of mail has also declined during that time.
Mailboxes were even removed while Obama was president. The U.S. Postal Service’s Inspector General noted that at the end of fiscal year 2016, “there were about 153,000 collection boxes” nationwide and that the USPS had “been removing underused boxes, with about 14,000 boxes removed over the past five years.”
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