The voters, who reside in New York, Pennsylvania, Texas and Indiana, are suing to reverse several of DeJoy’s changes to the Postal Service by reinstating overtime pay for postal workers, re-implementing sorting machines and a court order barring Trump and DeJoy “from engaging in any further attempt to deny [the plaintiffs] the right to mail in their vote.”
Trump has repeatedly tried to dismiss mail-in voting as a gateway for voter fraud, despite the limited evidence to support his theory. The voters, however, allege that Trump is trying to stop mail-in voting for his own electoral benefit.
“In short, DeJoy, doing Trump’s public bidding, has ensured even greater chaos in the Fall elections, putting his thumb on the electoral scales to help ensure Trump’s reelection and/or provide grounds for an election contest – not to mention helping Trump sow doubt in the minds of Americans about the integrity of the electoral process and the outcome itself, a loathsome tactic once associated only with tin-horn dictators and banana republics,” the voters wrote in their complaint.
The plaintiffs also wrote they are afraid a gutted Postal Service would force them to vote in person in the middle of a pandemic. Gina Arfi, a voter from New York, said she requested an absentee ballot to vote in the state’s June 23 primary that never arrived. She was never able to cast her vote in person out of concern for her 85-year-old grandmother’s health, the lawsuit said.
Arfi isn’t alone in her concerns. AARP’s top lobbyist, Nancy LeaMond, sent a letter to DeJoy on Monday urging him to suspend changes to the Postal Service that are disrupting mail delivery during the pandemic right before the election.
“We urge you to suspend any adjustments that could negatively affect service during the pandemic,” LeaMond said. “Further, we urge the Postal Service to be more forthcoming and transparent regarding any changes, including a more detailed cost-benefit analysis of the operational changes you have made and will be making to assure timely delivery of all mail, including election-related mail.”
LeaMond said that the organization, which has 38 million members, was worried that DeJoy’s changes may be “compromising the health and safety of millions of older Americans and may unduly restrict the ability of all Americans to safely participate in the upcoming elections.”
The letter also said that many older Americans, to whom coronavirus poses the highest risk, are relying on the Postal Service to deliver their prescriptions and other necessities so that they can avoid unnecessary trips outside of the house.
DeJoy has agreed to testify before Congress on his changes to the Postal Service, in what is likely to be a caustic confrontation. Several Democrats have called on DeJoy to resign from his post.
The White House was dismissive of the lawsuit, pointing out that the administration agreed on $10 billion in additional funding for the Postal Service in the latest round of coronavirus relief negotiations. Trump also hinted at a willingness to compromise on additional USPS funding, despite his past hostility toward election security grants that could be used to mail out election materials.
“While Democrats are spreading baseless conspiracy theories about the Trump administration’s assistance to the USPS to score political points, President Trump will continue to work to ensure the security and integrity of our elections,” said White House spokeswoman Sarah Matthews in a statement to POLITICO.
Trump also tweeted on Monday: “SAVE THE POST OFFICE!”
A spokesperson for the Postal Service did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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