clearn.png
Monday May 17th, 2021 9:36PM

States ask judge to reverse changes at US Postal Service

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

SEATTLE (AP) — A group of states suing over service cuts at the U.S. Postal Service is asking a federal judge to immediately undo some of them, saying the integrity of the upcoming election is at stake.

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy has already said he's halting some of the changes, including the removal of distinctive blue mailboxes and of sorting machines at some processing facilities. However, two remain in effect, the states argue: that the Postal Service is no longer treating election mail as the equivalent of First Class mail, and the so-called “leave behind” policy, requiring that postal trucks leave at certain times, whether or not there is additional mail to load.

In a motion filed in U.S. District Court in Yakima, Washington, late Wednesday, the 14 states — including the battlegrounds of Nevada, Michigan and Wisconsin — said that although mail delays have eased since the service cuts first created a national uproar in July, on-time deliveries remain well below their prior levels, meaning millions of pieces of mail that would otherwise arrive on-time no longer are.

That's troubling as millions more voters are expected to vote by mail this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, the states said.

The states, led by Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson, asked Judge Stanley A. Bastian to order the Postal Service to treat election mail, including ballots and registration forms, as First Class mail, ensuring it is delivered promptly; to end the “leave behind” policy; and to replace or reinstall any removed sorting machines needed to ensure timely processing.

In a declaration filed along with the motion, information technology consultant Mynor Urizar-Hunter, who helped start a website tracking the USPS changes, noted that 78% of the machines slated for removal were in counties won by Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016.

“Despite overwhelming evidence of the safety and security of mail-in voting, President Trump has waged a months-long crusade to undermine mail-in voting,” the states wrote. “The changes at issue escalate this crusade by creating a substantial likelihood that the States will not be able to deliver, receive, and tally ballots cast in time to be counted.”

The Postal Service did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday. But DeJoy, a former supply-chain CEO and major donor to Trump and the GOP, has repeatedly insisted that handling ballots is the organization's top priority, and he has warned Americans to request and send back their ballots early to ensure they arrive in time to be counted. DeJoy is scheduled to meet with the election committee of the National Association of Secretaries of State on Sept. 17, the same day the judge has scheduled oral arguments on the states' motion.

The lawsuit, filed last month, argues that federal law requires the Postal Service to go through specific procedures before making changes that affect nationwide service, including a review by the Postal Regulatory Commission and a public comment period. It also alleges that the changes interfered with the states' ability to administer their elections. Besides Washington, those suing include Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Wisconsin — all led by Democratic attorneys general.

Pennsylvania and New York are each leading separate coalitions of states also suing over the changes. Montana filed its own lawsuit Tuesday.

Ferguson's motion, which was supported by hundreds of pages of declarations and exhibits, noted some of the issues the changes have already wrought. Michigan spent $2 million earlier this year on envelopes that met election mail standards — only to learn that the Postal Service wouldn't treat them as First Class mail. In Madison, Wisconsin, the number of ballots that weren't counted because they arrived late for the August primary doubled from the August 2018 primary.

The delays have also hurt the ability of people to receive prescriptions and government benefits on time, the states said. In Minnesota, delays in delivering unemployment and medical leave paperwork to employees meant some employers missed deadlines for contesting those claims. The state itself is paying such benefits to employees it otherwise would have contested.

  • Associated Categories: U.S. News, Associated Press (AP), AP National News, Top U.S. News short headlines, AP Business
© Copyright 2021 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Stunned residents tour Oregon town devastated by wildfires
Stunned residents of a small Oregon town are getting their first look at the devastation from one of the state’s many wildfires after flames wiped out much of their community
3:57PM ( 5 minutes ago )
Return of football renews fears over more virus spread
A football-starved nation is getting its games back with the start of the NFL season, but many worry that attending games or get-togethers will lead to a new surge in coronavirus infections
3:45PM ( 17 minutes ago )
California fire that killed 3 threatens thousands of homes
A Northern California wildfire is threatening thousands of homes after winds whipped it into a monster that incinerated houses in a small mountain community and killed at least three people
2:56PM ( 1 hour ago )
U.S. News
Huge fire at Beirut port sows panic after last month's blast
A huge fire at Beirut’s port raised new panic among residents still struggling with the traumatic effects of the catastrophic explosion at the same site last month
3:51PM ( 10 minutes ago )
SC's Graham says he orchestrated Trump-Woodward interviews
Sen. Lindsey Graham, one of President Donald Trump’s top congressional allies, is denouncing an implication floated by a Fox News personality that he intended to sabotage the president by setting up a series of revelatory interviews with journalist Bob Woodward
3:36PM ( 26 minutes ago )
Dem report: Medicare chief used fed money to bolster image
A report by congressional Democrats says private consultants to the federal official who oversees Medicare billed taxpayers almost $6 million in less than two years largely to burnish her personal image
3:30PM ( 31 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
US charges Russian with plot to create election distrust
The Trump administration has charged a Russian national in a sweeping plot to create distrust in the American political process
2:43PM ( 1 hour ago )
Trump heads to Michigan amid Woodward book fallout
President Donald Trump was trying to move past revelations that he was determined to play down the threat of the coronavirus as he headed for a rally in battleground Michigan Thursday
2:31PM ( 1 hour ago )
Jane Fraser to become Citi CEO; 1st woman to lead major bank
Citigroup’s Jane Fraser will become the first woman ever to lead a Wall Street bank when she succeeds CEO Michael Corbat in February
2:23PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP National News
US stocks swing from gains to losses as wild week continues
Stocks are moving broadly lower on Wall Street Thursday, as losses in technology and energy companies cut into some of the market’s solid gains from a day earlier
2:44PM ( 1 hour ago )
European Central Bank expects to use full extent of stimulus
The European Central Bank has left its key stimulus policies unchanged with plenty still in the pipeline to bolster the eurozone economy’s rebound from the severe coronavirus shutdowns
2:32PM ( 1 hour ago )
Forbes: Cowboys most valuable NFL team at $5.7 billion
Forbes estimates the Dallas Cowboys are the NFL’s most valuable franchise at $5.7 billion, the 14th consecutive year they’ve held that distinction
2:00PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Business
Stunned residents tour Oregon town devastated by wildfires
Stunned residents of a small Oregon town are getting their first look at the devastation from one of the state’s many wildfires after flames wiped out much of their community
3:57PM ( 5 minutes ago )
Return of football renews fears over more virus spread
A football-starved nation is getting its games back with the start of the NFL season, but many worry that attending games or get-togethers will lead to a new surge in coronavirus infections
3:45PM ( 17 minutes ago )
California fire that killed 3 threatens thousands of homes
A Northern California wildfire is threatening thousands of homes after winds whipped it into a monster that incinerated houses in a small mountain community and killed at least three people
2:56PM ( 1 hour ago )
Wisconsin Democrats think they can avoid mistakes of 2016
Wisconsin Democrats are confident the lessons they learned when President Donald Trump won four years ago will ensure he doesn’t do it again
2:29PM ( 1 hour ago )
Wisconsin Democrats think they've learned mistakes of 2016
Wisconsin Democrats are confident the lessons they learned when President Donald Trump won four years ago will ensure he doesn’t do it again
1:57PM ( 2 hours ago )