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USPS Deactivating Mail Sorting Machines Ahead Of Election

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Ahead of what will likely be the largest mail-in ballot filled election in November, the United States Postal Service is making some questionable decisions: retiring essential sorting machines right before ballots start pouring in their mailboxes.

A new report from Vice finds the USPS is struggling with budget issues and low mail volume — and now removing sorting machines from their facilities across the country without an official explanation.

The reporters found 19 mail machines from five processing facilities across the U.S. that are either already removed or will be soon. There is no official information about how many of these machines will be taken out before Election Day.

“Even to local union officials, USPS has not announced any policy, explained why they are doing this, what will happen to the machines and the workers who use them,” Aaron Gordon finds. “Nor has management provided a rationale for dismantling and removing the machines from the facility rather than merely not operating them when they’re not needed.”

https://twitter.com/A_W_Gordon/status/1293953504764203011?s=20

“I’m not sure you’re going to find an answer for why [the machines being removed] makes sense,” said Iowa Postal Workers Union President Kimberly Karol to Vice, “because we haven’t figured that out either.”

Documents obtained by Motherboard, Vice’s technology site, show close to 15 percent of the mail system’s machines will be taken out of service. 502 machines around the country will be removed.

To further explain, Motherboard said the USPS presentation it obtained labeled this as an “equipment reduction,” instead of “mov[ing] equipment around its network” as a spokesperson had earlier said.

As fears of mail-in ballots getting lost, delayed, or tampered with increase in the national conversation, moves like this certainly don’t ease the national concerns around this widespread alternative to voting in-person.

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Meta to reinstate Trump’s Facebook, Instagram ‘in coming weeks’

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Meta’s president of Global Affairs Nick Clegg announced former President Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts will be reinstated “in coming weeks” after a more than two-year suspension.

“Our determination is that the risk [to public safety] has sufficiently receded,” Meta Clegg said in a blog post. “As such, we will be reinstating Mr. Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts in the coming weeks. However, we are doing so with new guardrails in place to deter repeat offenses.”

Twitter restored Trump’s account in November following its takeover by billionaire Elon Musk, but the former president has not yet resumed tweeting. Therefore it is unclear if he will use any of his former social media platforms, or instead remain on his own social media platform, Truth Social.

Clegg said “We just do not want — if he is to return to our services — for him to do what he did on January 6, which is to use our services to delegitimize the 2024 election, much as he sought to discredit the 2020 election.”

New “guardrails” include new policies around restricting accounts by public figures during civil unrest. Under those policies, Meta can decide to restrict the account of a public figure that violates its community standards for a time ranging from one month to two years.

“If he now posts further violating content, that content will be removed, of course, and he could be suspended for between one month and two years, depending on the severity of the violation,” Clegg said.

Posts will also be able to be limited on distribution without removing them or temporarily restricting access to its advertising tools. “Oblique references to QAnon content, for instance … is the kind of material that — even if it’s done obliquely, and doesn’t violate our community standards — we would seek to restrict the distribution of the content and/or restrict his ability to advertise,” added Clegg.

 

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