USPS Slapped With Federal Lawsuit For Voter Disenfranchisement

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Concerns over the functioning of the U.S. Postal Service under Postmaster General Louis DeJoy are continuing as Virginia gears up for a statewide Election Day early next month. As reported by the voting rights organization Democracy Docket, a new federal lawsuit has been filed against officials at the Postal Service — delivering, by association, a hit to Postmaster Louis DeJoy — raising concerns “over its failure to process and deliver election-related mail in a timely manner, potentially leading to the disenfranchisement of Virginians seeking to cast absentee ballots for the statewide election on Nov. 2.”

As further summarized by Democracy Docket, the lawsuit “argues that the Postal Service’s failure to deliver absentee ballot applications and ballots in a timely manner will significantly burden and potentially disenfranchise thousands of Virginia voters in violation of the First and 14th Amendments.” Thus, those behind the case are seeking a court order for the Postal Service “to prioritize and expedite the processing of election-related mail and to immediately process any unscanned election materials” in three particular counties, as explained by Democracy Docket.

These concerns are the exact same sort of issues that loomed over the 2020 presidential election. Following DeJoy’s take-over, on-time delivery rates plummeted — and during the 2020 presidential election cycle, higher-than-normal numbers of people cast their ballots via the mail, due to the COVID-19 pandemic making gathering at in-person polling places more difficult. Thus, there was even more than could be expected resting on whether DeJoy would come through, and although no systematic issues appear to have been uncovered with the Postal Service’s handling of election-related mail during the 2020 cycle, whether or not such is the case should not be an open question! The point of the Postal Service is to provide services to the public — it’s not a private business entity weighed down by profit concerns.

As DeJoy’s time at the helm of the Postal Service has continued, he’s moved to make slower delivery rates for certain pieces of mail permanent amid efforts to cut costs. Unfortunately, the Postmaster General is not directly appointed by the president — instead, they’re appointed by members of the Board of Governors that oversees the agency. At present, appointees of Donald Trump to that board make up the majority, making change difficult, since they’re the ones who put DeJoy in power.