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Phoenix Mayor Gallego stresses importance for Postal Service funding

(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

PHOENIX – Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego is concerned about the lack of funding for the U.S. Postal Service as mail-in ballots are expected to play a larger role in November’s election.

“Absentee ballots have been an important part of voting in Arizona. We were one of the first states where anyone could vote by mail without an excuse,” Gallego told CNN’s The Situation Room Thursday.

Mail-in voting is expected to play a larger role in this year’s election as the country continues to deal with the coronavirus pandemic. As of Friday, Arizona reported a total of 191,721 coronavirus infections and 4,423 deaths.

In Arizona, if a ballot is not received by election day, the vote will not count. According to Arizona Clean Elections, about 80% of voters in Arizona already receive their ballots in the mail.

“Arizonans are used to voting by mail,” Gallego said. “We need a strong Postal Service, but it’s a system that works and it’s elected a wide variety of different elected officials from different partisan backgrounds.”

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, a GOP fundraiser, took the position in June, and has imposed several cost-cutting changes that have led to mail backlogs, which politicians fear will impede the results of the November election.

President Donald Trump has said he opposes funding the service and repeatedly advocates against the idea that more people should vote by mail as a result of the pandemic.

He argues, without offering evidence, more mail in voting will lead to widespread voter fraud, even though he votes by mail himself.

“It’s not a one-party system but it is a system that makes sense during a pandemic,” Gallego said.

Gallego also noted that amid the coronavirus pandemic, Arizona residents are using the Postal Service more to participate in the economy from home.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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