D.C. Judge Orders Immediate Election Protection From GOP Sabotage

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On Sunday, D.C. federal Judge Emmet G. Sullivan “ordered the U.S. Postal Service to halt changes that have delayed mail delivery nationwide,” according to The Washington Post. Sullivan was the third federal judge to hand down a similar order amidst a nationwide outcry over slowed mail delivery, which many observers have feared could negatively impact the delivery of mail-in ballots during the ongoing presidential race. The slowdowns have emerged after the Trump-allied Louis DeJoy assumed the position of Postmaster General; while on the job, he has implemented measures like reported temporary sharp limits on overtime that have driven down the efficiency of the Postal Service.

According to court filings from the Justice Department, the Postal Service has “directed managers not to reduce overtime, cut retail hours, further close processing facilities or remove collection boxes and sorting equipment,” as the Post summarizes. Still, concerns are lingering about a potential impact on mail-in ballots, which the president has falsely claimed are full of fraud. In reality, in an age with the Coronavirus, mail-in ballots are critical to ensuring that vulnerable populations are able to make their voices heard without having to venture to an in-person polling place.

Sullivan’s Sunday ruling on the matter was in a case brought by the states of New York, Hawaii, and New Jersey along with New York City and San Francisco. As in other cases that other authorities from around the country brought, the plaintiffs took issue with the fact that DeJoy had imposed policy and operations changes without first submitting his plans to the Postal Regulatory Commission, giving states the opportunity for input.

New York Attorney General Letitia James insisted that the operations changes were “a thinly veiled attempt to advance the president’s own political agenda” of undercutting the Postal Service. Sullivan, meanwhile, insisted:

‘It is clearly in the public interest to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, to ensure safe alternatives to in-person voting, and to require that the USPS comply with the law.’

About a week and a half before Sullivan’s ruling, Washington Judge Stanley A. Bastian handed down a nationwide injunction against Postal Service operations changes that have been under scrutiny. The blocked policies included “limits on delivery trips, decommissioning any mailboxes and sorting machines or reducing processing facilities and retail hours,” the Post explains. Negotiations have been ongoing recently between 19 states, D.C., and the Postal Service over mail delivery issues, and on Friday, a “settlement” was near, the Post said.