Where the United States Postal Service Stands on Mail-In Ballots Come November 2020-08-05
Neither snow, nor, rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds. Now, the US Postal Service says no problem on mail and voting even if the president has doubts and your talking to us about I retired from the United States Postal Service after thirty year career we always took ballot handling very seriously. It's an honorable responsibility to through enough fair to have given all the other pressures that. Their faith thing is what we're talking about on the takeaway for Wednesday August fifth. Glad you're with me I'm tenzing Vega also an explosion in Beirut rocks, the area for miles around and causes an instant humanitarian crisis. It doesn't look like it was just a case of massive negligence compounded with some Christian. Matz. UAE is extremely explosive potential is being stored the actual plus why the life expectancy of hip hop artists can be very low but I. With less than one hundred days left before the presidential election the trump administration has been attacking the United States, postal service, and the use of mail in ballots a Monday the president tweeted that the postal service quote could never handle the traffic of male and votes without preparation. The Postal Service responded saying it is prepared for the onslaught of ballots. The president trump has had his eye on undermining the postal service for years according to The New York Times. After the recent appointment of a major trump donor to postmaster general, the organization stopped paying overtime which led to delays in mail delivery experts worry that the administration's continual attacks on the postal service may place mail in votes in jeopardy. Joining me now is bridget Bergen city. Hall, and Politics Reporter at WNYC. Great to have you as always bridget. Thanks tenzing. Also with us is Christopher W Shaw historian policy analyst, and author of preserving the People's post office Chris. Thanks for being with us. Glad to be here. Thank you and you Chris got the first question what some of the biggest changes you've seen with the postal service nationally under the trump administration. Well, the biggest one is just what's happened now, where we're reducing the ability to have overtime and when you have an institution that has seen number of employees fall by tens of thousands in the last ten to fifteen years at the same time that the population keeps growing. So you have more houses or apartments or businesses to deliver to. this is a recipe for not being able to fulfil the mission of the Postal Service of delivering. To the American people. Bridget looking at this from a microcosm here through the New York state primary, which was more than a month ago. The Mail in ballots that were were filed than are just being finish counted yesterday were just finished counted yesterday. Catch US up. What are the issues that happened in New York. Well there are a lot of issues tenzin but specific to the the mail and voting New York because of the pandemic. Allowed voters to apply for absentee ballots. So they could vote from home We don't have a vote by mail system here in New York. So this was a way to allow people to cast their ballot during this pandemic without having to go to pull site and new. Yorkers took advantage of that by you know a dramatic number, a tenfold increase compared to two thousand sixteen with the number of people applying for absentee ballots. That obviously put a strain on both the board of elections to process and get those ballots out as well as the postal service, which is obviously the conduit for managing all those ballots and so one of the things that we saw in part because there were this this opportunity to vote by absentee ballot was because of executive orders issued by Governor Andrew Cuomo the laws. kind of kept changing throughout the primary season. But to keep on top of all of that ultimately here in New York City ballots went out particularly late and one of the things it's essential for about to count in New York state is that it needs to be postmarked and it needed to be postmarked by June twenty third, which was the date of the primary so just Recently there was a federal lawsuit over the fact that some voters and candidates were saying that too many ballots that were returned to the board of elections were being invalidated because they were missing that postmark, and so that was the subject of a hearing and decision that actually just came this week where the judge ruled that many of those ballots needed to be counted Even if they were missing postmark because based on the testimony that was given from the board of elections and the post office, there had been some problems. So a lot going on there but also a lot of opportunity to make some changes before November Chris when you hear examples like what bridget just described New York I, mean this was a really an issue of postmarks which. I think a lot of voters were probably surprised by when you hear what's happening in New York and what's going on do you think about what the country might be facing in November if as bridget suggests changes are not made soon enough will we have different systems for what needs to happen to about in terms of what does it need to be on on election day to need to be postmarked by election day and they're different in every state, and so we need to be prepared for this and we need to have the postal. Service talking to the secretaries of state in the different states to make sure that those ballots are going to be counted. Grizz, are you worried that as we head into the selection that we just mentioned that this hop that the new postmaster general for the US Postal Service is also a big trump donor president trump as has often placed people who are very supportive of him in positions of power But are you worried that that move is politicized politicizing the post office and a service that all Americans regardless of political affiliation rely on? I am worried about that and I'm also worried about these when he talks about how the million dollars is somehow. Likely to lead to fraud or a rigged election because it really undermines the basics audio of democracy I mean the most important thing we do together as a nation is vote in these kinds of statements undermine legitimacy of the election and I think that's very, very troubling prospect when four. Bridget, what are you hearing from posted from the postal workers union about their ability to do the work that needs to happen for upcoming elections yet, I've spoken to two of the union leaders here in New York particularly in Brooklyn where we saw some of the highest numbers of ballots that were delivered missing postmark I talked to Tom McMenemy. Who is president of the American postal. Workers Union, he's got about fourteen hundred members, the retail clerks, drivers, mail processors, and he said, you know his his members are absolutely feeling the. Impact of these new postmaster general policies and it's a real concern to him. You know as a union leader, he sees it as a real imperative that by mail and or absentee ballot voting here new? York goes smoothly and works while in all votes are counted. He thinks that will benefit his members and the way he said it to me was this whole notion that they would potentially leave male behind that goes against everything that they're trained to do you know with the postal services always about hustling to get the mail out? He also said the pandemic has hit the agency really hard. So they're not working at full capacity. So they need more support in that regard but he really feels like some of these changes are disservice He knows that mail standards have been slowing down over time and he he's concerned that this administration wants to slow them down even more. Chris I'm thinking about historical precedent here as well. Have we ever seen a president I take aim at the postal service in the way that the trump administration has I can't think of any time when we've had the postal service be in the crosshairs an administration there has been a campaign going back for decades now to try to undermine the postal service as a government agency from Libertarians who don't like the idea of government services and they certainly haven't liked this example of successful government service that serves the American people. A uniform basis, you know a democratic government service. So that's been going on for a long time, and that's something that the post offices had to contend with for many years but we've never had a president move aggressively against the post office. In this way, it is unprecedented. I mean the president has said that mail in ballots can open the door to voter fraud this. Is a big political talking point. I don't believe that there's any proof of that Chris of you found any proof of that no I mean the state that's been doing this the longest in terms of having all ballots go through the mail as organ which has been doing it says two thousand and it's in the case of about fifty million ballots over those past twenty years. It's something like two cases of voter fraud. So that really is not an issue we have to be worried about in terms of the election the issued after he worried about is making sure the postal service is prepared and ready to get these ballots where they need to be. Rigid you said that this is also an opportunity for improvements to the postal service in how New York in particular learned what lessons New York has learned from this last election What can what have they learned are are there are there changes going? That are going to be implemented before twenty twenty. I think some of the changes can be implemented by legislatures and so in the case of New York. The. State. saw what happened during this primary saw what came out during this federal case and has started to make some policy changes in terms of you know what legitimises a ballot if you're going to say that it needs to have a postmark knowing some of the constraints that this federal agencies operating under will maybe you need to make sure that the date when that ballot is received, it makes sense. So in the case of this federal, this federal lawsuit, the judge ruled that any ballots received by June twenty fourth or twenty fifth two days after the. Primary Y, the missing postmark could still be counted and there are a piece of legislation in Albany that has already passed both the state assembly and Senate that would allow four ballots received the day after election even if they're missing a postmark to still be counted, so there are ways that extent governments can address some of these issues even if the federal government doesn't give the United States, postal. Service what it needs Chris who is most at risk of being disenfranchised If the postal service is experiencing delays, it's experiencing ahead of the election right now. Well. If you look at who were talking about, it's going to be people in rural areas. It's going to be people who are low income who are going to have a harder time getting to the polls and who are going to be more likely to experience delays in terms of getting the the mail delivered But the thing is, is the male slowing down all around the country so this could be potentially a. Much more broadly based because the postal services saying we need at least a week to deliver to live with these ballots and So this could be a broader problem than traditionally the people were concerned about who are lacking access being lower income people rural people older people So that's something definitely keep an eye out. For I'm just wondering is there anything that people can do to make sure their ballots actually make it in in November? Well as Chris said, the rules are different by state You know here in New York, you have an opportunity to still vote in person there's early voting and voting on election day, and you can also take your absentee ballot, chew the Board of Elections Office or to any of those poll sites. So there are opportunities there There's no male, there's no ballot tracking system. In New York but those are the other ways that you can ensure that you don't have to rely on a middleman to get your ballot it needs to go bridge. Bergen is a city hall and politics reporter at WNYC, brigid. How can postal workers reach you? If they want to share information with you I'm on twitter my DM's rope at brigid Bergen love to hear from you. Grand Christopher W Shaw's historian policy analyst, and author of preserving the People's post office Chris. Thanks so much for being with us. Thank you for having. Name. Eight Jorgensen, and from Grosse Pointe Woods Michigan. I'm a retired letter carrier after thirty five and a half years and I feel completely safe in sending in my mail in ballot I. Don't feel there's any kind of risk in his being stolen anything like that. Hi, this is Karen in San Jose California and since the post office already handled absentee ballots, I, really don't understand the issue. Handling more male I've clued. Towns that are offering drop off location for absentee ballots for those of us who do not show up at the polls and I think that the much better idea than having. So US Postal Service be responsible for. So of talent, it's really not fair to them given all the pressure that they're facing and the situation that their financial. This is Katrina from Maplewood. New Jersey. This is Gail Turner from Richmond Virginia. As far as trusting the post for the elections. Start counting the ballot now don't wait until the last moment. This is Teresa from the brainard lakes area retired from the United States Postal Service seven months ago after a thirty year career. Lee always to ballot handling very seriously. It's an honorable responsibility. The postal workers readily accept I am personally offended by the president's unfairness that you would be mishandled. He is attacking anyone in any institution that could stand in his way or help with his defeat. Although I have a postman, the family or anything I do know my man both personally by homeless postman and my office postman and they're both incredibly continent professionals take the job incredibly seriously and I'm not worried about them interfering in any collection at all There's no way to ballot and sort of meaningful way we'll. We'll. I'll be there election than a meaningful ways to prevent and hit. Mail in balloting and reduced voter turnout. Is. Like and I live in. Florida, I finished chores. Me Is that the postal service can easily handle any mail in ballots, but he has also been very concerned that the new postmaster general is slowing down the delivery of mail. Very purposefully I, guess at the behest of our presidents so that it looks like we cannot handle mail in ballot. Eight seven, seven, eight, my take is our number. This is the takeaway. A devastating explosion rocked the city of Beirut, Lebanon on Tuesday killing at least one hundred people and injuring thousands. The explosion devastated the port of Beirut and surrounding neighborhoods causing damage to buildings miles away thousands of Lebanese people are now homeless and hospitals near the area already overburdened by Covid nineteen are overwhelmed in addition the country had already been in a deep financial crisis and many banks have run out of money president, Michel Own said. The blast was caused by stockpile of ammonium nitrate stored in a warehouse. Ammonium nitrate is used as both the fertilizer and Explosive Material Prime Minister Hassan Diab declared Wednesday. A National Day of mourning for Lebanon Liz sly is the Washington Post Beirut Bureau chief and she's joining us from that city now Liz. Thanks so much and how are you doing? Oh, I'm fine. Thank you. that I'm better off than a lot of people here today. What is route look like today? Well the the hot that was near the port, which is where I am now is completely wrecked I mean the no houses here this habitable there were no buildings to habitable the the streets piled high with gloss. Right cause. Flooding. Mason me around me. chucking around, I can't get up my status stuck looking the way and. People are sort of wandering around trying to salvage if you positions. A to people who have just fled the city, they've gone to the villages outside the city. Needs have honed in villages of from villages in the mountains and areas around. they don't have homes anymore. They've gone and It's people are just in complete completely days. That's done. They don't know what to think. Liz, what do we know about the amount, the ammonium nitrate, and that caused the explosion so far? What we know is there were two thousand, seven, hundred tons of ammonium nitrate in a storage facility they had been nested. twenty-foot team and they were confiscated from a ship visiting the port I make being stuck. This is the initial story at least they've been stuck since despite some people who warning that they were a danger. Now it's all a bit fishy and mysterious nothing is ever transparent in Lebanon. You're never sure if you're getting into the real version on not but that is what the people are saying and it does at the moment look like it was just a case of massive negligence compounded with some Christian Matz about why is extremely explosive material is being stored at all on Monday. You tweeted that the country's hospitals were near their breaking point tell us what how that's evolved. The health officials be morning that any day. Now, Lebanon will overtake its ICU capacity covid patients in cases arising a very high number every day. So we were expecting to be heading into a serious. COPA crisis. Now Anyway, instead, we now have a massive massive destruction prices on top of that I'm actually sitting in the lobby. Now of a destroyed hospital, it was near the port it had two hundred beds. patients were injured star. One of the members were killed. They had to wheel the patients out you can see the blood outside the they wheeled them out of the hospital and evacuate them to other hospitals in the date of night last night with no electricity because this place is destroyed meanwhile, there were hundreds of people who are injured in the blast. Also converging on all the available hospitals the the hospitals don't have beds to these. The situation is dire. There's also been pretty devastating financial situation. On and in Beirut, tell us what's been happening and how did it get to that point from an economic standpoint? Simply, Lebanon has an extremely corrupt and inefficient bunch of politicians who'll the conceit? These are basically the warlords to foot against each other during the civil war they've now to band together and all the money in the banking system has gone. It's disappeared. Can account for it. Nobody's willing to train account for it, but you're in a situation at the moment where. The banks have collapsed and they and people can't take money out of banks because the money doesn't exist. They are limited to very tiny amounts each month the currency is collapsing at a rapid rate and I've been talking to people here who've lost their businesses and homes and everything. They just do not have money to be built, and even if they did have the money, the banks don't have the money to give them because it doesn't exist anymore it loses the no, it's. It's still early days as you're saying, people are still shocked but do you expect I mean president trump has suggested. That this was some sort of an attack does that have any their conspiracy theories flying around on social media about what could have happened here given your expertise in the region How accurate would you say that assessment is so far? Well, it's probably a little irresponsible at the moment because the ramifications of there being some kind of attacker enormous in Lebanon could end up in a war with Israel as well as all the other catastrophes that we have here at the moment but the regional context this which is we have seen a series of mysterious explosions in Iraq close year that were. Is really targeting weapons storage by Shia militias. And series a mysterious explosion motions. Power plants new nuclear facilities in. Iran. This year which have also been attributed to its family sabotage. Now, the port is a very sensitive area in part because his spoiler. Shia militia which. With Israel does maintain facility that they do import weapons that it's not totally out of the question that some kind of attack triggered the initial explosion that then ignites it distorts ammonium nitrate and Costa much bigger one but it's Also, Lebanon, and the politicians and the administrators in the managements of societies are so inept and corrupt it's entirely plausible that somebody would leave. Giant bunch giant stores of inflammable explosive ammonium nitrate, sitting around untended for six years. That's also well within the realm of possibility is if given the pylon of issues that we just described with banks and hospitals running thin and the virus and the potential for homelessness to you at some point, expect there to be some sort of exodus out of Beirut or out of Lebanon more more broadly absolutely I've spoken to people who take. Just, say I want to leave I mean all the Lebanese I know once leave and wanted to leave before this crisis, and if you've you know if you've lost everything you have there's no there's no money or option of rebuilding You know I think a lot of people are looking to leave the country of moments and that's another tragedy because it's a brain drain and it's a drain of talent people from this country. Liz Sly is the Washington Post Beirut Bureau chief Liz. Thank you very much and please stay safe out there. Thank you. Last. Week, we mourn the loss of Malik Abdul Basset better known as maleek be a hip hop artist and one of the founding members of the legendary group. The Roots Maliki was only forty seven. Shows. Much. Work. People. There's no easy on. The exact cause of death has yet to be confirmed, but it fits into a troubling pattern of rappers especially, those from the golden era of hip hops early days dying young from illness. eazy e from NWEA died from complications with AIDS at thirty years old. Of some Aylwin is so thin winning. J. Diller died from a heart attack at thirty two. Twenty One. WAKE NECK Prodigy who is half of the group mob deep died from choking and complications with sickle cell anemia at forty five, you'll only digging guzzled. By dog from a tribe called quest died from complications with diabetes at forty five and the list goes on. This is. Dr Adams is a hip hop journalist and historian. He joins me now to help us understand why so many hip hop artists are dying young dart. Thanks for being with us. Thanks for me. Just listening to those tracks back to back to back. You just realized that the genius frankly that we've lost in hip hop community, and so young. Dr West, going on here. Is there something about the industry that's intensifying and creating health problems for these folks is these are my contemporaries? The fact of the matter is when you work in the music industry, especially when you signed to a record label as basically a new update of share cropping ideal so You have to you get a loan essentially and you have to pay it back and you don't make any money to recoup that loan and if you record you album. Costs and overhead, and until you make all that money back for the label, you don't really make money except for maybe the money you make for shows, which is dependent on how successful you music is. So what I'm saying is if you're creative or you're on a label and your of musician that you might have to hustle and work three times harder than you initially, you know hoped just to be able to see any money even though you're all. Over the place and you're visible. So there's that stress added to it, and there's no health insurance that comes with this. You know so I could run off a list of a whole bunch of emcees there weren't there weren't named and you segment died due to some health issues. I mean a lot of these people that we're talking about are black and or Latino what role does that race and economic background play into into what we're talking about. Well. Okay. I live in the south end lower, Roxbury and if you go further down to Roxbury or the Back Bay, there's a big difference between the life expectancy of people who live. In, that area or Beacon Hill verses Roxbury, it drops like more than ten years, and if you extrapolate that and deal with our, we have a of people from the inner city and they're black and Latino, and they already might have health complications and there's no health insurance in the music industry if you have. Any extenuating circumstances with your health in. Bags abated by constantly having to work go on tour you can't take care of you so and you can't take days off especially now that the month there's even less money in industry Dr Been Covering, the hip hop industry for decades. Now, what's it been like to watch rappers start you know who are passing away in the thirties and forties you said, you know other MC's who weren't on that list of luminaries at the toss. This I mean. When I think about guys like home poetic a grim reaper died vom. He had colon cancer. And they had to raise money just to get him treatment I mean. I have so many numbers in my phone two days ago was the was the just the anniversary of the passing of my friend Pat on Peyton lock was independent hip hop producer in an rhyme and rapper, and he died also of cancer Sean price died in his sleep So When you have any type of health issue. We're not getting the help that we need when we don't have coverage and we have to work that much harder. Just to be able to see any kind of financial benefit or profit. So in his day as is exponentially exponential age. You know you have to get above the noise imagine how much work you have to because you have to do everything now. DART. was talking about. That are manifesting physically for a lot of people but we were talking about mental health and mental health. There's been a lot of. That with recent coverage of Kanye West's and how the industry perceives or doesn't perceive mental health issues. How how has the hip hop community done when it comes to mental health? I think there were in the nineties. We had very few people that understood that what some people were rapping about was actually struggling mental health scarface was early doing it you had other emcees. There were just talking about different things like notorious bee gees ready to die. That album is talking about his fading mental health. He's trying to hustle and make money and stay above water. These are the same kind of situations that artists now face. Especially in a system where you're not making that much money from streaming revenue and you can't tour anymore. So, if you had any type of pre existing health condition is going to be exacerbated. Now because what you're gonNA, go to the hospital where they might be overrun with Cova cases you don't WanNa go to the hospital unless you have anything short of something super serious and by that Tim time it's already too late and we've been dealing with that but months and right now we're talking really about a male rappers so far. But what about women rappers in the industry who often don't get the same attention as male rappers? Do we know whether they too are experiencing the types of illnesses that we're talking about here and other types of health pressure? Unfortunately were women they might be dealing with the same issues, but it's also made worse by the fact that being crate upon and their victims of violence and all these other issues that women have to deal with. The things that are going to affect them and their health because they're black and Latino. If you look at the the birth rate or like the the the rate of women that die while giving birth or the or the death rates of children did a black and Latino it's insane when told by a couple of people that worked in hospital. So dark water people I mean at some point, this is not a new issue we just went through a whole list of people you gave me your list of people I. Mean at some point if the industry isn't doing anything for its artists, what are the artists doing for each other artists beginning to to talk about things like that we're talking about right now in terms of the health issues that that disproportionately affect black and Latino communities in particular I mean our artists doing anything to to protect each other or themselves. Absolutely I think that there was a big groundswell things happening after a soul August eighth be the fifth anniversary of the passing of Ulm Sean Price. And when Sean price passed away. I think that that was a big on. A big. O.. Turning point and people waking up and it happened right after we lost a another guy from Brooklyn, a Pumpkin head most people knew him. So these guys were really big and the underground rap community especially in Brooklyn, and they were tied to everybody from the rat recording world to the freestyle battle world and when they started when they passed away, you know people started. Wanting to be healthier Changing their lifestyle around a Lotta Lotta people went you the Vegan Vegetarian Alm. So, there was a whole lot of talk about being more active and being around and trying to survive into your forties started seeing our peers pass. You know. that. There's that line of forty, two, forty five and when we start seeing our peers. Pass away. It starts to really affect you especially I I have an about twenty five numbers in my phone. and. They've all passed away within the last like. Three to five years and I'll never call them will never be able to text them again and. It's insane to think that I turned forty five and three weeks. Dart Adams is a hip hop list and historian Dart thanks for. Joining us. Thanks for having me. A lot of us are missing restaurants, these days, the company, the food, but the earliest restaurants replaces you went not to eat apparently the eighteenth century customers were too classy for chewing digesting is work it's manual labor not necessarily something ladies were expected to be very good at doing I'm Johanna mayor host of science fiction and this month we are all about food find science fiction wherever you get your podcasts. For decades, doctors in the United States have performed surgeries on sex children to make their genitalia appear more like our common perceptions of male and female anatomies. intersex is a set of variations and sort of sex characteristics whether they be go Netto Chromosomal or hormonal. That are atypical for males and females. That Sean Cypher. Wall. The CO founder of the Intersex Justice Project and we're going to hear more from Sean in just a second. Activists and human rights. Groups however have widely condemned the surgeries but even after a two thousand thirteen report from the United Nations, which called on countries to outlaw genital surgeries on Intersex children most hospitals in the United States have continued to allow them last week, the Ann and Robert H Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago reversed course becoming the first major hospital in the united. States to officially halt these surgeries for Intersex children. The hospitals announcement came after years of pressure by the Intersex Justice, project a group that works to end the surgeries in a statement. The hospital said that historically they had taken part in these surgeries but that quote. Has, advanced and understanding has grown. We now know that this approach was harmful and wrong joining me now is Sean Sipho Wall founder of the Intersex Justice? Project Sipho welcome to the takeaway bank you so much also joining us as kate sauce in a reporter covering lgbtq plus issues at the nineteenth kate welcome to the takeaway. Thank you for having me Kate. Let's start with you are intersex surgeries common in the United States or another parts of the world. intersex surgeries are incredibly common from what we know. No hospital has come out and stated that they don't perform these procedures and almost no country has come out and stated that they won't perform these multiple became the first in two thousand fifteen to say that they wouldn't do that. But. Very few countries are states have actually outlawed the procedures around the world. Scifo, why are Intersex people and activists viewing these surgeries on intersex children as harmful I think the people who are speaking out. Are the adult survivors of these surgeries and For Myself for the people who I know, the activists that human rights advocates is that we have been harmed, and some of the sort of lasting effects for lack of a better word of these procedures are like loss of sensation scarring like very real trauma and I think. Our advocacy is informed by not wanting young people to go through this. Unnecessarily I think we have a duty to prevent unnecessary trauma. Kate given that the surgeries have been condemned by a number of human rights organizations as we heard at the top here, why are they still accepted by the medical community as much as they are given everything also that that Sipho just outlined you know there's a struggle for transgender individuals to access trans affirming medical care, which is medical care that would bring. transpeople in alignment with the gender that they identify, and so we have an issue in the US of people not being able to access care that aligns with their gender and for Intersex, people, they're having the entirely opposite issue which is. They're not having autonomy over their bodies and it comes back to an issue of in the US, we have a really binary idea of gender. We think of common is men and women as women, and we think these things are written in stone and Intersex people really. Sort of show that there are variations and that's really uncomfortable for a lot of us to confront and so. Doctors for decades have been sort of writing that out I. Just WanNa make sure I'm I'm being clear and Sipho and or kate please correct me if I'm wrong here but being intersex is not the same as being trans it is not the way. I. Think About Intersex is that is biological reality but transgender as about how you know how people feel express their gender Cypher in the previous segment you mentioned This is something I've been thinking about these surgeries I. Believe you call them cosmetic and medically unnecessary it feels like the cosmetics here are what may have been driving the medical community to do that? Is that right? Yeah. I think. What often doesn't come out as the sort of medical bias against Intersex bodies I think for years in activists have shared how these surgeries have impacted them I think our messaging has been very consistent over a number of years since the days like the Intersex Society of North America and Ham Aphrodite with attitude are messaging has been consistent and I think will often doesn't come out as sort of like provider bias the bias on the part of the doctors it was in the Human Rights Watch report and twenty seventeen I wanna be as nature made me where was in that report that it was sort of discovered that surgeons had the highest level of bias to ward. intersex variations, and they're biased informs, parents, decisions about doing these surgeries, and so I think definitely, it's like provider bias s really forming these surgeries. In it. It's also kate wondering I want to talk a little bit about why the hospital decided to end the surgeries. But before that I'm wondering if you've spoken to parents who may have you know with the best interests of the child at heart decided to do the surgery because they wanted to maybe protect the child from you know from anything in the future or just you know have. Them you know I was or the parents you talking to you've talked to aware of the trauma that these surgeries could entail or did they do this with the best of intentions for their kids I actually haven't interviewed parents of of Intersex children but I have interviewed a number of Intersex people who have spoken about their parents and it seems like parents were not given complete information really understood. The consequences of the surgeries did not understand. necessarily. How traumatizing these surgeries might be that they thought that they were. Doing something that might help their children live a quote unquote normal life and understand that they might be taking away or foreclosing some. Some possibilities for their kids including you know being able to. Have Children or feel sexual pleasure or that they'd be subjected them to really invasive and painful medical treatment for years or even lying to their kids and telling them. For example, that had cancer and the those narratives with troubling for years and years and years kate based on the reporting that you've done. Why did the hospital decide to end surgeries last month? that would be because Sipho, and safe as co founder of the INTERSEX. Justice Project PIDGEON Pagonis really thought this for years and waged what I would say was relentless campaign around us It's worth noting that Lori is is a very prestigious hospital in terms of gender care in general it has. A renowned gender clinic specifically treating Trans and non bare near children that was started in two thousand thirteen and it has a really great reputation among lgbtq people and because of that it, it makes it a very prime target for a campaign like this because there's such a dissonance when you're doing such great care for transgender people and continuing to do these kinds of surgeries. Sipho when you consider your own surgery that happened when you were thirteen how did that shape your view of intersex surgeries? I think looking back. my my mom wasn't given all of the facts. I think if my mom was. If, my mom was involved in a thorough informed consent process like I think she wouldn't have consented to the surgery and I feel like at the time when I was I was a child I was a child and these physicians were using terminology that was way over my head and they weren't being honest with me about the reality of my body. You know they told my mom that I had gonads, which is undifferentiated sex tissue as opposed to testees and after I was castrated at New York Presbyterian. Hospital was put on feminizing hormones which really caused like. Another level of trauma because I saw my body feminizing ways that I was really uncomfortable with and I think in hindsight, I would have been okay. If I had proper psychological support with the changes that were happening and so I feel like what happened to me I wasn't given autonomy over my body because it came with this. Description that was based in compulsive heterosexuality that I would have the surgery be subject to these hormones, and then eventually I would have genital surgery, which would be able to accommodate sex with my future husband. Options that are made and I, think what is very Would is. Pretty disturbing is that there are so many people with the same variation have androgen insensitivity syndrome they were assigned female at birth. All of them have been given the same script throughout the United States in different parts of our country. So for me, that's that's a problem and I think it just shows the consistency by which the medical establishment particularly around these variations have these very insular prescribed narratives for people with these variations Sean. Sipho Wall is the CO founder of the Intersex, justice project and kate sauce in as a reporter covering lgbtq plus issues at the nineteenth thanks to you both for joining me. Thank you. Thank you. I'm Tansy Nevada and you're back with the takeaway earlier in the show, we talked about the critical role that postal workers might play during the upcoming presidential election but there's another kind of worker that's just as important. But in short supply these days and those our poll workers as the coronavirus pandemic rages on communities across the US are scrambling to find people to assist their fellow voters at the polls this November. Poll workers tend to be older, which puts them at greater risk of contracting covid nineteen. So many of them are staying home this year according to the US election assistance. Commission. More than half of the country's Pol- workers were sixty or older in the twenty sixteen election. Last Friday politics host Amy Walter talked a little bit about this shortage of poll workers ahead of the election, and as it turns out, this has been on the minds of a lot of our listeners. And calling from SEATAC Washington I worked the pulled and the two thousand sixteen election and I thought it was a really fun way to be involved in the democratic process. This year was really. Doing it again. But I'm worried to participate during the pandemic and it feels like a way to put my family at risk. Hi, my name is Laurie Daley and I'm calling from Los Angeles. I've worked in the poll. Spring years. Probably about twenty two years now and it's an amazing experience I think everyone needs to do it this time I have an issue because of the coronavirus I have multiple sclerosis and my husband doesn't want to go anywhere I'm less afraid than he is but I don't think he's going to allow me to actually work suppose which really upsets me because this election more than. Many, many in the past is particularly critical. In places like Kentucky, the Secretary of State has called on young people to step up and volunteers poll workers in the coming months. Georgia is also ramping up its efforts to recruit new workers to replace those who quit because of corona virus fears I Monica Bell from Dallas half never worked the pulse before, but is there is a need I will fill it this year because I feel. Very strongly that especially in Texas we need to do everything. We can to get the vote out by this is John From Watson New York I am a poll worker in Nassau County New York traditionally, the poll workers when I was voting as they younger person were all older. Now I'm in that category, we really need to encourage younger people to work the polls and no, it's a long day. But it's also a long tradition of making sure that everybody one person one vote it's preserved and there's some people are nervous about being poll workers due to health or family reasons. The Corona virus isn't stopping others from showing up on election day. Hi, my name is railing on and I'm calling from Massachusetts I do work the polls every year and I am proud to do it and will continue to do it for this year because I think it's one of the most important elections we will ever have. This is tricia calling from plano taxes. I worked polls, several times including primary run off we had earlier this month. I have signed up to work coming November election including early voting. This will allow people to come in when there are no crowds and we have a good safety protocol that we tested during the July Election Miss Injury Thomas, I'm from Lancaster. Texas I have served as a poll worker before I served is one in a two thousand sixteen election and I, will be serving at one in the two thousand, twenty election I see it as my civic duty I am a black woman many people died. So that would have the right to vote. So I see it as me paying homage to those who came before me and those who died that I might have the right to vote. What about you have? You ever worked the polls are you considering this election? Give us a call and tell us your story at eight, seven, seven, eight, six, nine, eight to five, three. That's eight seven, seven eight might take. All right. That's our show for today. Thanks so much for listening. I'm Tansy Vega and this is the takeaway.