Protesters in Washington called for the resignation of the postmaster general over the weekend, saying changes under his purview had undercut the Postal Service and threatened Americans’ ability to vote.
About 100 people gathered in the wealthy residential neighborhood of Kalorama on Saturday outside the apartment complex of the postmaster general, Louis DeJoy, a Republican megadonor and ally of President Trump who was appointed in May. Another protest was scheduled for Sunday outside Mr. DeJoy’s Greensboro, N.C., home.
Videos on social media showed them banging spoons on pots, blaring horns and chanting “resign,” with many in the group wearing masks and remaining socially distanced.
Critics say that changes enacted under Mr. DeJoy’s oversight, like cutting overtime pay for postal workers and removing mail-sorting machines, have slowed the delivery of mail and endangered vote-by-mail operations when millions of people are expected to exercise that option because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Postal Service sent letters in July to all 50 states and the District of Columbia cautioning them that it may not be able to meet their deadlines for delivering last-minute mail-in ballots. News reports about the letters on Friday intensified the criticism directed at the Postal Service and Mr. Trump by Democrats and voting rights advocates, who say the president is deliberately stoking unfounded concerns that voting by mail will lead to fraud and miscounts as a way to cast doubt about the outcome of the election.
In the letters, Thomas J. Marshall, the general counsel for the Postal Service, urged states to require that residents request ballots at least 15 days before an election — rather than the shorter periods currently allowed under the laws of many states.
He said 45 states faced the risk that their timetables could leave some voters unable to get their ballots postmarked by Election Day or received by election boards in time to be counted.
In response to the warning letters, some states, including Pennsylvania and Michigan, have called for extensions on counting late-arriving ballots in the November election.
Mr. DeJoy, who has argued he is modernizing the Postal Service to make it more efficient, has become a target of criticism. Posts on social media showed protesters delivering fake absentee ballots to the entrance of Mr. DeJoy’s building on Saturday, cluttering the glass front doors with folded sheets of paper that read, “Save the post office. Save our democracy.”
The Saturday protest was organized by Shut Down D.C., a group that has previously organized in response to climate change and public health crises. In a statement, the group accused Mr. DeJoy of gutting “the safest and most accessible way to vote” in the United States.