New York Attorney General Files Lawsuit Objecting Postal Service Changes

New York Attorney General Letitia James declared on Tuesday that her office has filed a federal lawsuit contesting changes to US Postal Service operations before the November election.

The Lawsuit

The suit questions the court to call the Postal Service changes unconstitutional. The suit also declared to block any substantial, nationwide changes to service from being implemented without first having an opinion from the Postal Regulatory Commission.

Hawaii, New Jersey, New York City, and the City and County of San Francisco teamed up with the suit filed in federal court in Washington, DC, on Tuesday.

“This USPS slowdown is nothing more than a voter suppression tactic,” James, a Democrat, said in a statement. “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.”

The suit registers the third state-backed lawsuit against the USPS. It pushes back on operational changes to the Postal Service that has disturbed mail delivery in the country. The changes have been proposed just months before the general election, in which voters are expected to utilize mail-in voting. To point out they need it in much larger numbers, in large part, to the coronavirus pandemic.

Claims by the Postal Service

The suit refers to testimony before Congress by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy and former vice-chairman of the USPS Board of Governors, David Williams. Williams, who resigned from his post-April, testified that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had been directly meddling with the operations of Postal Service for months before he resigned.

James stated that her office persisted to be tensed after DeJoy testified that he had no plan of returning removed collection boxes or sorting equipment.

James said at a press conference that the parties involved in the suit made up their mind to file anyway. They decided it after it was evident that congressional oversight and public outcry would not address this issue.

“When we concluded that none of these efforts have resulted in policy changes they’ve put in place we decided to use the power and the weight of New York State to litigate these claims,” James said.

Falling Capacity

The suit talks about the amount of mail sorting machines that have been removed from mail processing facilities. In New York, 52 sorting machines have been removed, consisting of 15 from New York City alone. In New Jersey, 20 sorting machines have been detached. In Hawaii, the suit claims mail sorting capacity has fallen from 300,000 pieces of mail an hour to 200,000 pieces of mail an hour after four machines were removed.

Three towns in western New York that typically receive 80,000 pieces of mail a day didn’t receive a single letter on July 11, the suit claims.

In an August 21 statement, the Postal Service said it has “more than enough” capacity to tackle election mail volume.

“Postmaster General DeJoy’s number one priority is to deliver election mail on-time and within the Postal Service’s well-established standards,” the agency said. “Effective October 1, he is committed to engage standby resources in all areas of Postal Service operations, including transportation, to satisfy any unforeseen demand.”