Wherever you may live in West Virginia, no, your post office is not closing down.
You might have heard it is closing down. You even might have seen a sign in the building’s window saying it is shuttering. It’s not. And it won’t, at least not for a while.
It seems there was a “miscommunication” between United States Postal Service Appalachian District officials and some postmasters in West Virginia. The Postal Service is planning to review post offices in West Virginia, conducting feasibility studies and perhaps arriving at the conclusion that some branches need to close or as many as two dozen need to cut hours. That study has yet to be conducted, and no decisions have been made. Some West Virginia branches thought they already were being shut down or having hours cut.
How that breakdown in communication transpired isn’t entirely clear, and the Postal Service isn’t saying which post offices it is studying or might be impacted.
U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., inquired into the matter via letter, and his response in a statement says it all:
“I have more questions now than before I got this response. Where are these post office locations that might be shut down or have their hours reduced? Why were these locations selected? Why wasn’t any of this information included in the letter as I requested?”
As much of a mess as this is on its own, it couldn’t have happened at a worse time. There is an election in November, and as the novel coronavirus shows no sign of slowing down, a record number of Americans will be voting by mail. At the same time, the president of the United States, without any evidence, is painting absentee ballots as ripe for fraud. West Virginians have the option of requesting a mail-in ballot and voting that way if they’d rather not go to the polls. But how many people now think they won’t be able to do so, or are, at least, mighty confused about the issue, after this situation?
The Postal Service needs to reassure West Virginians regarding operations through the election. The agency should also answer the rest of Manchin’s questions. Residents have a right to know if their post office — especially vital in more rural areas of the state — is on the chopping block.