Saturday, September 19, 2020
Protesters Say Don’t Mess with Our Mail
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Sandra jiggles her sign, hoping it will draw more attention than if she just holds it still.
   
Wednesday, August 26, 2020
 

STORY AND PHOTOS BY KAREN BOSSICK

Fourteen-year-old Lilliah Bess couldn’t stand the thought of what a mail slowdown would do to the pen pal relationships she’s cultivated from the Netherlands to Australia and in between.

So, she cajoled her father and cousin into driving her 190 miles from Nampa to Ketchum to take part in a protest to save the U.S. Postal Service. Her father carried a sign that resembled a postage stamp and her cousin Guinavieve Legg, one that said “Deliver De Mail, Depose DeJoy.” Lili carried one that said simply, “Save Our Post Office.”

“I am passionate about the Postal Service and I’m passionate about my friends. I have a million pen pals and I don’t want to risk not being able to communicate with them,” said Bess. “This was the closest protest there was to us so we came.”

 
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“We care about voting in the United States and mail-in ballots are one of the ways many people vote, regardless of political affiliation,” said Jamie Lieberman, who took his place next to Glo Kimball.
 

Tuesday’s protest, billed as “The U.S. Mail Not for Sale,” was a national campaign organized by the American Postal Workers Union and the National Association of Letter Carriers. It followed on the heels of Saturday’s nationwide protests organized by moveon.org, which attracted 50 protesters in Ketchum and 22 in Hailey.

The union postal workers were angry about changes made by recently appointed Postmaster General louis DeJoy that include cutting the hours of postal workers and removing mail sorting machines that can sort up to 33,000 pieces of mail an hour.

Some have said that deliveries that used to take three to five days are taking 10 to 14 days.

That doesn’t set well with Sandra, who was among the 17 protesters who turned out Tuesday.

 
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A steady stream of customers carried mail and packages out of the Ketchum Post Office as protesters made their will known.
 

“My husband gets critical medicine through the mail. And my friends in assistive living centers—I can send them a funny outrageous card I get at Jane’s and it makes them feel happy and it makes me feel happy,” she said as she waved to a passerby honking their support.”

“I’m a firm believer in the Post Office,” said Tina Cole. “You don’t politicize the Postal Service because it’s crucial to so many people, and even more so during a pandemic.”

Jeremy Fryburger touted the importance of the Postal Service for voting.

“Really, this is all about a threat to our democracy, he said. “There’s nothing more democratic than being able to exercise the right to vote.

 
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Michael Bess said he was proud of his daughter Lilli, center, for exercising her voice.
 

Fryburger suggested that the best way to vote this year is in person—either through early voting, which opens Oct. 13 at the old County Courthouse, or on election day at local voting polls. The ballots of those who vote early at the courthouse will drop to the bottom of a machine to be counted on Election Night.

If you’ve requested a mail-in ballot via idahovotes.gov, you can still vote absentee or in person, Fryburger said. Your mail-in ballot will be torn up and you’ll be handed another. Once you’ve voted, that ballot will go into a lock box to be taken out on election day.

“Always vote,” Fryburger told the group. “People say, ‘Why vote? Government policies don’t affect my life.’ But for the past week we’ve had smoky skies. We could have less smoky skies if we had a different response from the government to climate change. Right now, we’re wearing masks. We might not be if we had had a different government response.”

Fryburger said he also often hears people say, “My vote doesn’t matter.”

 
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Muffy Ritz protested from the back of a bike as passersby honked.
 

But Blaine County has seen a handful of elections decided by fewer than five votes, said Andrea Lieberman. “And, as Michelle Obama said, if there had been just two more votes in a number of districts, we would have had a different president the past four years,” she added.

"The reason I think this is such valuable info for young voters is because the turnout in Ketchum, Hailey and Bellevue last June for the Black Lives Matter/George Floyd peaceful protest was really big and FULL of very young people.  They may think their votes don’t matter in the grand scheme of things, but the city council members and mayors we elect then sign the contracts with the city police, who then might make a significant difference in their lives by not policing via racial profiling, not cooperating with ICE during their raids, etc.," she added.

 Jennifer Mitchell offered one more reason to vote: “Every time a candidate wins the popular vote but not the Electoral College only strengthens the case for changing the Electoral College.”

WILDFIRE ALERT!

The County Line Fire five miles northeast of Wendell has burned 1,557 acres and is 70 percent contained. It was believed to have been started by the lightning storm that passed through on Tuesday.

 

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