/Federal judge halts USPS move to dismantle mail-sorting machines, remove mailboxes

Federal judge halts USPS move to dismantle mail-sorting machines, remove mailboxes

A federal judge halted the U.S. Postal Service’s move to dismantle mail-sorting machines, remove mailboxes and slice employee overtime across the United States.

Last month, New Jersey joined New York City and state and three other jurisdictions’ lawsuit claiming the Trump administration was trying to undermine the fall election. 

“A federal judge just issued an order in our case halting the Trump Administration’s efforts to interfere with mail delivery in advance of the election,” New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said in a tweet on Sunday. “We will have a free and fair election.”

New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal.

The suit was filed in U.S. District Court a day after Postmaster General Louis DeJoy promised Congress that delivering election mail on time this fall would be his “No. 1 priority.” 

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The Trump administration previously said it’s simply trying to reform a deeply-indebted agency with longstanding financial problems.

But Democrats say the actions taken by DeJoy, an ally of President Donald Trump and a major Republican donor, are a blatant attempt to interfere with a mid-pandemic election whose results may be decided through the mailbox rather than the ballot box.

The complaint was also joined by Hawaii and the city and county of San Francisco. It claims that the service’s changes are illegal, harmful and violated the U.S. Constitution by interfering with state’s authority to set their own election rules. 

DeJoy backtracked and said he would suspend some of the changes he originally ordered follow national outcry that focused on the threat of the election and a delivery slowdown for essentials like prescription drugs. 

“We will do everything we can to handle and deliver election mail in a manner consistent with the proven processes and procedures that we have relied upon for years,” DeJoy said last month.

Since then, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a $25 billion measure to fund the Postal Service, but it is considered unlikely to pass the Republican-controlled Senate. 

The lawsuit claims the Postal Service was required to hold a public hearing on the overhaul before the Postal Regulatory Commission. The agency’s recent decisions abdicate its duties and could hurt vulnerable citizens who get mail-delivered medicine, Grewal said in his statement.

“Americans will vote by mail in record numbers this November and the Postal Service’s dramatic changes threaten to disenfranchise voters by disrupting mail service,” New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal previously said. “We will continue working with other state Attorneys General to protect the election and voter rights.”

Follow reporter Kristie Cattafi on Twitter: @KristieCattafi 

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