A federal judge issued a nationwide order on Thursday blocking changes Postmaster General Louis DeJoy sought to implement to the US Postal Service (USPS) months before the November election.
Judge Stanley Bastian of the Eastern District of Washington issued a temporary injunction after hearing arguments from 14 different states suing DeJoy over his new policies. Plaintiffs in the case stated that the changes were “made for political reasons” and “threaten to disrupt the successful use of mail in balloting.” Plaintiffs filed suit on August 18, the same day that DeJoy suspended some operational changes to the USPS. However, the suspension failed to prioritize mail-in ballots as First Class mail unless First Class postage was paid, which according to Bastian, has “already disenfranchised voters and will disenfranchise many more in November.”
Bastian further explained:
Although not necessarily apparent on the surface, at the heart of DeJoy’s and the Postal Service’s actions is voter disenfranchisement. This is evident in President Trump’s highly partisan words and tweets, the actual impact of the changes on primary elections that resulted in uncounted ballots, and recent attempts and lawsuits by the Republican National Committee and President Trump’s campaign to stop the States’ efforts to bypass the Postal Service by utilizing ballot drop boxes, as well as the timing of the changes. It is easy to conclude that the recent Postal Services’ changes is an intentional effort on the part of the current Administration to disrupt and challenge the legitimacy of upcoming local, state and federal elections, especially given that 72% of the decommissioned high speed mail sorting machines that were decommissioned were located in counties where Hillary Clinton received the most votes in 2016.
This injunction prevents DeJoy from implementing any of his policy changes and forces the USPS to treat election mail as First Class Mail without requiring payment.