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Under questioning from Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.), Postmaster General Louis DeJoy acknowledged at a hearing on Monday that he knows "very little about postage stamps."

Why it matters: Porter and other Democrats have accused DeJoy, a Trump donor and successful businessman, of being unqualified to serve in his position at a time when the U.S. Postal Service is set to deliver a record number of mail-in ballots ahead of the November election.

The big picture: DeJoy, who clashed repeatedly with Democratic members of the House Oversight Committee during Monday's hearing, vehemently denied that he is "engaged in sabotaging the election" as part of a campaign by President Trump to undermine mail-in voting.

  • He reiterated that he would suspend until after the election the sweeping operational changes that have reportedly been causing widespread mail delays, but he would not commit to reversing them or reinstalling dismantled mail sorting machines.
  • DeJoy also testified that many of the changes that he's been accused of making were in effect before he arrived in the job in June and that he does not know who ordered them.

The exchange:

PORTER: "What is the cost of a first-class postage stamp?"
DEJOY: "55 cents. "
PORTER: "Just wanted to check. What about to mail a postcard?"
DEJOY: "I don't know."
PORTER: "You don't know the cost to mail a postcard? 
DEJOY: "I don't. "
PORTER: "What if I want to mail a — you said 55 cents for a first-class stamp, but what if it's one of those greeting cards that's a square envelope. Then what is the postage?"
DEJOY: "I will submit that I know very little about postage stamps."
PORTER: "Do you know about, within a million or so, can you tell me how many people voted by mail in the last presidential election?"
DEJOY: "No, I cannot."
PORTER: "To the nearest 10 million? 
DEJOY: "I would be guessing, and I don't want to guess."
PORTER: "Okay. So Mr. DeJoy, I am concerned — I'm glad you know the price of a stamp, but I am concerned about your understanding of this agency."

Go deeper

Updated Nov 3, 2020 - Politics & Policy

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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

More than 100 million Americans voted early in the 2020 election across the U.S., according to state data compiled by the U.S. Elections Project.

Why it matters: The coronavirus pandemic and its resultant social-distancing measures prompted a massive uptick in both mail-in ballots and early voting nationwide, setting up an unprecedented and potentially tumultuous count in the hours and days after the polls close on Nov. 3.

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Why it matters: Vaccines are, in the words of one expert, "the single most life-saving innovation ever," but progress had slowed in recent years. New gene-based technology that sped the arrival of the COVID vaccine will boost the overall field, and could even extend to mass killers like cancer.

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Beware a Thanksgiving mirage

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Don't be surprised if COVID metrics plunge over the next few days, only to spike next week.

Why it matters: The COVID Tracking Project warns of a "double-weekend pattern" on Thanksgiving — where the usual weekend backlog of data is tacked on to a holiday.