A view shows U.S. postal service mail boxes at a post office in Encinitas, California in this in this file photo from February 6, 2013, file photo. Credit: Mike Blake / Reuters

WASHINGTON — The governing board of the U.S. Postal Service, under intense scrutiny over its ability to handle a surge of mail-in voting in the November elections, is creating a panel to oversee the process.

The board acted amid a furor raised by Democrats about impact on voting of cutbacks at the agency and President Donald Trump’s repeated and unsubstantiated assertions that voting by mail would taint or delay results of the presidential election.

The panel “will use its oversight role to reinforce the strong commitment of the Postal Service to the mail as an important part of the nation’s democratic process, and will regularly monitor execution of USPS’s work on election mail to ensure that our part of this election process is implemented in the most effective way possible,” the Board of Governors said in a statement Friday.

The oversight panel will be headed by Donald Moak, who fills one of the Democratic slots on the Board of Governors. Ron Bloom, another Democrat, and John Barger, who holds one of the Republican seats, will make up the rest of the panel. All three were nominated by Trump and confirmed by the Senate.

The statement was released several hours after Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, a Trump donor, sought to assure the Senate Homeland Security Committee that there has been no political interference in post office operations and that mailed ballots would be delivered on time.

“The Postal Service is fully capable and committed to delivering the nation’s election mail fully and on time,” DeJoy told lawmakers.

The House is set to vote Saturday on legislation that would roll back service cutbacks made by DeJoy since the beginning of the year and provide $25 billion in new funding for the Postal Service.

The governors said in a statement that DeJoy, a wealthy North Carolina businessman who assumed his role a few months ago, has their “full support.”

“He was selected to help bring needed changes to the Postal Service, which has experienced over a decade of financial losses and faces the need for fundamental reform,” the governors said.

The board said that mail-in ballots are expected to account for less than 2 percent of all mail volume from mid-September until Election Day but that the coronavirus pandemic could pose unique problems for mail-in voting.

Story by John Harney and Daniel Flatley

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