States to sue Trump administration over postal changes amid voting fears

By Karen Freifeld (Reuters) - Several Democratic state attorneys general said on Tuesday they will sue President Donald Trump's administration in a bid to block Postal Service changes that may affect mail-in voting in the November U.S. presidential election

Reuters August 19, 2020 01:10:12 IST
States to sue Trump administration over postal changes amid voting fears

States to sue Trump administration over postal changes amid voting fears

By Karen Freifeld

(Reuters) - Several Democratic state attorneys general said on Tuesday they will sue President Donald Trump's administration in a bid to block Postal Service changes that may affect mail-in voting in the November U.S. presidential election.

A lawsuit led by Washington state will argue that the Postal Service, headed by a Trump ally, implemented the changes illegally and without following procedures required by federal law.

"We will ask the court to block these destructive new policies and fully and immediately restore the postal service, so that Americans can cast their ballots with confidence this November and know their votes will be counted," Connecticut Attorney General William Tong said.

Attorneys general from Washington state, Pennsylvania and Connecticut planned conference calls on Tuesday to discuss the legal challenge. New York's attorney general said she would soon be suing the administration as well.

"The integrity of our elections is fundamental to our nation's democracy and we won't allow anyone to undermine them, not even the president of the United States," New York attorney general Letitia James said.

Democrats and other critics have accused the Republican president of trying to hobble the Postal Service to suppress mail-in voting as he trails Democratic presidential challenger Joe Biden in opinion polls ahead of the Nov. 3 election.

Trump said last week he was against Democratic efforts to include funds for the Postal Service and election infrastructure in coronavirus relief legislation because he wanted to limit mail-in voting during the coronavirus pandemic.

U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy is scheduled to testify on Friday before the Republican-led Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, spokesmen for the committee and the Postal Service said. DeJoy, a major political donor and ally of Trump, assumed the job in June.

DeJoy also is scheduled to testify on Monday before the Democratic-led House of Representatives Oversight and Reform Committee.

Republican Senator Ron Johnson, the Senate committee's chairman, said that "the Postal Service has had significant financial problems for years, and it is important for everyone to fully understand its current fiscal challenges."

Johnson added DeJoy should be able to testify "before going before a hostile House committee determined to conduct a show trial."

The top Democrat on the panel, Senator Gary Peters, said the hearing would "address urgent questions on the Postal Service delays that are causing massive disruptions across the country."

Democrats have raised concerns that Postal Service cost cutting could lead to missed or delayed ballots. They have pointed to reductions in overtime, restrictions on extra mail transportation trips and new mail sorting and delivery policies as changes that threaten to slow mail delivery - and in some cases, already have.

Trump has repeatedly and without evidence claimed that mail balloting is vulnerable to fraud. Voting by mail is nothing new in the United States, and one in four voters cast ballots that way in 2016.

Mark Dimondstein, president of the American Postal Workers Union that represents more than 200,000 employees, told Fox News that DeJoy's policy changes "are truly slowing down mail, the customers see it ... the postal workers see it - mail is getting all backed up."

(Reporting by Tom Hals, Karen Freifeld, David Shepardson and David Morgan; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Will Dunham)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

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