By Michael Bonner MassLive Staff | September 03, 2020
Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey joined in filing a multi-state action in seeking to halt changes to the United States Postal Service that could prevent employees from delivering the mail.
Healey joined a coalition of attorney generals from California, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maine, North Carolina and Pennsylvania who said actions within the USPS may lead to harming veterans, seniors and rural communities as well as disrupt the general election in November.
The attorney generals filed a preliminary injunction on Thursday in federal court in Pennsylvania seeking the court to intervene.
“The changes being made at the Postal Service are an illegal and blatant attempt to disenfranchise voters during this election season – and they must be stopped immediately,” Healey said in a statement “Americans across the country rely on the Postal Service, especially during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and we will fight these reckless actions to undermine it in a time of heightened need.”
The preliminary injunction filed against Postmaster General Louis DeJoy argues changes are required to be submitted to the Postal Regulatory Commission before they take effect. Any changes implemented recently must be halted, the filing says.
The changes cited in the lawsuit include letter carriers ordered to depart for their delivery routes at set times, and no longer make extra trips that might otherwise ensure that the mail is efficiently delivered
“The result of these operational changes is that mail is delayed at multiple places in the mailstream,” the injunction said.
The injunction also stated that DeJoy has made contradictory statements on whether the Postal Service will continue to adhere to its longstanding practice of providing the “highest level of service” to election mail.
Mail-in ballots are expected to flood the Postal Service this year as many voters are likely to cast ballots from home to avoid long lines or congested areas amid the coronavirus pandemic.
More than 1 million ballots were mailed last month as part of Massachusetts’ primary on Sept. 1, Secretary of State William Galvin said.
“I expect an even larger volume of mail-in ballots for the Presidential election, and we need to make sure the Postal Service is up to the job,” Galvin said in a statement.
The changes are a part of the Trump administration’s efforts to streamline the service as the president routinely warns, without evidence, that mail-in voting is ripe for fraud.
Last month, DeJoy said he would suspend cost-cutting and efficiency initiatives until after November “to avoid even the appearance of any impact on election mail.”
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