New York and New Jersey sue Trump and Postmaster General DeJoy over postal service changes

The move comes one day after Mr DeJoy testified before the House Oversight Committee

Danielle Zoellner
New York
Tuesday 25 August 2020 20:01
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New York and New Jersey's attorney generals have sued the Trump administration and Postmaster General Louis DeJoy over changes to the United States Postal Service (USPS).

The suits, announced by New York Attorney General Letitia James and New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal on Tuesday, both sought to block any operation changes made to the USPS that could disrupt service ahead of the November election.

This move comes one day after Mr DeJoy appeared in front of the House Oversight Committee on Monday to testify about changes made to the USPS amid falling revenue. Mr DeJoy announced before his testimony with the House that any changes to the postal service would be suspended until after Election Day to avoid any interference with mail-in ballots.

But this hasn't stopped the two states from collaborating on a lawsuit against Mr DeJoy and the Trump administration.

"This USPS slowdown is nothing more than a voter suppression tactic," Ms James said.

"Yet, this time, these authoritarian actions are not only jeopardizing our democracy and fundamental right to vote, but the immediate health and financial well-being of Americans across the nation. We will do everything in our power to stop the president's power grab and ensure every eligible voter has the opportunity to cast a ballot come November."

The lawsuit was also filed in conjunction with Hawaii, New York City and San Francisco. Six states – Pennsylvania, California, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, North Carolina and the District of Columbia – previously filed a lawsuit against the new postmaster general on 21 August as concerns mounted over how service changes could impact mail-in votes come November.

Mr DeJoy, a Trump-appointee and longtime supporter of the president, announced changes to USPS earlier this year as a way to help with its decline in revenue.

The proposed changes included limiting overtime for workers, which could lead to some mail delays.

Democrats expressed concern the changes would impact the November election, as more states considering absentee ballot and vote-by-mail options to limit the number of people gathering at polling locations on 3 November. One of the concerns was that an uptake in ballots sent through the USPS could mean some would not arrive to polling places on time.

But residents have reportedly also noticed other mail delays.

"Countless people in New Jersey and across the nation, including some of our most vulnerable citizens, rely on the mail for prescription drugs and other things that help them survive," Mr Grewal said. "During this critical time, Americans deserve better than a mail slow-down rooted in political gamesmanship."

House Democrats passed a $25bn funding bill on Saturday to aide the USPS and prioritise election mail as "first class". The bill is unlikely to progress further in the Republican-run Senate.

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