California Attorney General Xavier Becerra is vowing to join other states in suing the Trump Administration over Postal service changes that he says are intended to interfere with the 2020 election.
“Free and fair elections are the cornerstone of our democracy,” he said in a statement. “That means relying on our postal service more than ever during this pandemic. Unsurprisingly, that doesn’t stop President Trump from attacking our mail and lying about the facts no matter who gets hurt. To him, even when it comes to delivering your paycheck or medication, it’s a joke. Our right to vote, your paycheck, your prescription medicines, you can’t get more serious than that. So, for the 96th time, we’re taking President Trump to court. No Americans should fear their vote won’t count simply because Donald Trump fears a free and fair election.”
His office cited a number of reported changes to postal service delivery and procedure that have been attributed to Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, who was appointed by President Trump. They included removing mailboxes, reducing over time for postal workers and telling letter carriers to leave mail behind if it is going to delay their routes. In addition to that, mail sorting machines have been taken out of service.
Becerra’s office said that, “by failing to seek regulatory approval on policy changes that have a nationwide impact, United States Postal Service (USPS) Postmaster General Louis DeJoy — through several internal memos issued just months ahead of the election — unlawfully and unilaterally implemented a series of revisions to the postal service’s protocols and procedures that threaten to undermine the timely delivery of millions of mail-in ballots across the country.”
The Attorney General’s statement contended Trump is acting in concert with the Postal Service to hamper the election, arguing that the “USPS’s actions align with the President’s own recent assertion that, by opposing demands to adequately fund USPS, he would be preventing the postal service from being able to handle the expected surge in demand for voting by mail, which could reportedly increase by more than 300 percent nationwide as compared to the last presidential election.”
In fact, “USPS openly recognized this concern when it warned 46 states and the District of Columbia that, in conjunction with its operational changes, it could no longer guarantee timely compliance with all state election deadlines and delivery of all ballots cast by mail for the presidential election. In other words, millions of Americans eligible to vote across the country — even if they follow their state’s election rules — could be disenfranchised if the Trump Administration’s tampering with the postal service were allowed to stand.”
Pennsylvania is reportedly leading the multi-state coalition, including California, planning to sue over the changes. Other states are reportedly Delaware, Maine and Massachusetts.
Becerra’s office said they expect to file the lawsuit by the end of this week.
Faced with mourning outcries and congressional investigations and rowdy protestors showing up at his Washington home this past weekend, DeJoy said on Tuesday that all changes to service would be suspended until after the election in order to “avoid even the appearance of any impact on election mail.”
But the announcement did not assuage California Secretary of State Alex Padilla. He said his office would “continue to monitor for any signs of disruption to service” and that the changes should be eliminated altogether.
“It is not enough to merely suspend operational changes, they need to be reversed. There should not be cuts to postal service, particularly during this pandemic.”