Sen. Kamala Harris says she has faith in USPS; warns against playing politics with COVID vaccine

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Absentee ballots are making their way to more than 600,000 North Carolina voters. That’s over 16 times more than at this point in 2016. Their fate is in the hands of an embattled United States Postal Service that has drawn the nation’s attention over funding challenges and changes directed from the top.

In an interview with Eyewitness News, Democratic Vice-Presidential candidate Senator Kamala Harris said she has confidence in the workers of the USPS.

“I have great faith in the United States Postal Service, and let’s remember it is one of the hallmarks of our democracy,” she said.

North Carolina voters have been casting ballots by mail for decades with few issues. The exception was in 2018, when political operative McCrae Dowless’ ballot harvesting operation resulted in a redo election for the 9th Congressional District. Ballot harvesting is the process of going out and collecting absentee ballots, which Dowless paid people to do. The process is illegal in North Carolina but legal in other states like California.

“There is no question that we have to take the election system and the process seriously,” Sen. Harris said. “We have to do everything we can all of us to fight to protect the integrity of our election system.”

All 50 states have been asked to start preparing a plan to distribute a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as late October. Former Vice President Joe Biden predicts President Trump will hype a vaccine around Election Day. Senator Harris says political officials shouldn’t declare when one is ready.

“We all pray we will have a vaccine as soon as possible. Let’s not play politics with this,” she said. “The scientists, the public health officials, the physicians, they should be the ones that declare the vaccine ready for distribution to the American people.

If the FDA authorizes a vaccine in late October that they determine to be safe and effective, Harris says she would take it if she felt it wasn’t rushed and promoted for political reasons.

“If the FDA, if the scientists and the public health professionals approve the integrity of the vaccine, I think we should have confidence in it,” Harris said. “If it is some spokesperson who is the reflection and the mouthpiece of a politician who is speaking for purposes of politics, I won’t trust it.”

Harris says leadership is what is needed to get Americans back to normal.

“The suffering is a reflection of the fact that we have a president of the United States who has failed in his greatest responsibility, which is to keep the American people safe,” Harris said.

The Democratic nominee for Vice President said she and Biden hope to visit North Carolina soon.

“I love North Carolina and I hope to get back there very soon,” she said. “I really would like to be there with you in person and we want to do it in a way that keeps you and everybody safe.”

>> In the video below, watch the entirety of Sen. Harris’ interview with Eyewitness News Reporter Joe Bruno.