RICHMOND (September 10, 2020) – Attorney General Mark R. Herring has joined a coalition of 14 attorneys general in filing a motion for preliminary injunction seeking to “[bar] continued implementation of [US Postal Service] changes before they can further interfere with Americans’ daily lives and the November 2020 election.” Last month, Attorney General Herring announced that Virginia was joining a multistate coalition in filing a federal lawsuit challenging the Trump Administration’s drastic operational changes at the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) that threaten critical mail delivery services and could undermine the national election in November.
“DeJoy’s claims that he has stopped all changes when he clearly has not is just another example of the Trump Administration saying one thing in public and doing something completely different behind closed doors. We have already heard from Virginians around the Commonwealth whose mail isn’t being delivered on time, or who have had delays in receiving life-saving medications or social security payments because of these reckless, illegal changes,” said Attorney General Herring. “With a crucial election coming up in just a few months, it has become clear that we must go to court to stop these changes and work to reverse the damage that has been done so millions of Americans who vote by mail this year are not disenfranchised. I remain dedicated to ensuring every Virginian’s and every American’s vote counts this fall.”
In the brief, Attorney General Herring and his colleagues argue that the changes the Trump Administration has made to the USPS “are not only illegal, but are also causing irreparable harm, including delays in delivery of time-sensitive materials from medications to legal notices to ballots.” Additionally, the brief argues that DeJoy ignored the requirement that “any significant changes in postal services undergo a thorough review by the Postal Regulatory Commission and include opportunity for public comment before taking effect” and “made a number of precipitous changes that, by his own admission, have significantly affected postal service.”
The brief highlights that, while Postmaster General Louis DeJoy claims he has halted some of the changes he originally made to the USPS, two of the changes have continued. The first change is the “Leave Mail Behind” policy that “[requires] mail carriers and delivery trucks to leave at set times, regardless of whether the mail is actually ready, prohibiting letter carriers from making return trips to distribution centers as necessary to complete timely mail delivery…[slowing] mail delivery substantially nationwide.” The second change is the “[abandonment of] the Postal Service’s longstanding commitment to treat all Election Mail under First Class delivery standards…[which] mean[s] that ballots, registration forms, and other Election Mail that States send to voters will be delivered much more slowly than in the past.” The brief adds that “The Postal Service itself has threatened nearly every State that this may disenfranchise some voters.”
The coalition also included the below charts showing how DeJoy’s “Leave Mail Behind” policy has impacted the Postal Service’s service: