At least six state attorneys general appear to be discussing possible legal action against the Trump administration due to changes at the United States Postal Service (USPS) that could disenfranchise voters seeking to cast their ballot by mail this year.
The group of Democratic state officials appear to be making moves toward a lawsuit against President Donald Trump and Postmaster General Louis DeJoy for the sudden changes that were made in the name of cost reduction.
Critics maintain that the changes are an attempt to purposely slow mail delivery service, citing Trump’s comments last week that implied he was blocking funding to USPS in order to impede mail-in voting in this year’s general election, including the race for president.
Get our free emails
Attorneys generals in Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Washington have made statements suggesting legal action was in the works against the administration.
“I am reviewing all legal options to protect this election,” North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein tweeted on Saturday, noting that “Trump admitted” in his statement last week “to trying [to] starve USPS of $ so it can’t deliver absentee ballots.”
Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring also stated that moves by DeJoy and Trump represent an “assault on Democracy.”
“DeJoy and the entire Trump Administration must answer for exactly what’s going on,” Herring said.
DeJoy, who has given millions of dollars to the Republican Party (including to Trump) and who has vested financial interests in competitors to USPS, has implemented a number of changes to Post Office operations across the country, including cuts to overtime, adjustments to delivery policies and the removal of hundreds of high-speed mail sorting machines. The moves may end up shutting down many post office locations, cutting staff and slowing down service.
Indeed, changes have already resulted in the USPS warning election officials in 46 states that mail-in ballots may not arrive in time to be counted for the 2020 elections.
Americans reported a number of other alarming trends, including the removal of letter collection boxes in several states across the country. Other collection boxes have had locks placed on them, preventing them from being used.
Democratic lawmakers in Washington, D.C., are also considering legislation to stop changes at USPS in the lead up to the 2020 election. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-California) announced on Sunday that she would be recalling House lawmakers from their August recess in order to deal with the matter.
“Lives, livelihoods and the life of our American democracy are under threat from the president,” Pelosi said in her letter to colleagues.
It’s unclear whether the Republican-controlled Senate would take similar action in order to address the issue, although there is a bipartisan call from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) to respond.