A judge in Washington, D.C., sided with several states on Sunday and ordered the Postal Service to halt operational changes put in place by Postmaster General Louis DeJoyLouis DeJoyPostmaster general says postal service can’t return mail-sorting machines Hillicon Valley: Murky TikTok deal raises questions about China’s role | Twitter investigating automated image previews over apparent algorithmic bias | House approves bill making hacking federal voting systems a crime Judge orders Postal Service treat election mail as priority MORE that have been blamed for mail delivery delays around the country.
The Washington Post reported that U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan found in a 39-page opinion that DeJoy’s changes at the Postal Service were likely related to President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden says voters should choose who nominates Supreme Court justice Trump, Biden will not shake hands at first debate due to COVID-19 Pelosi: Trump Supreme Court pick ‘threatens’ Affordable Care Act MORE and other Republicans’ efforts to halt the expansion of mail-in voting or absentee voting ahead of the November election.
Sullivan is the third judge to make such a ruling.
In his order, Sullivan wrote that it was a clear public health interest to find safe, alternative means for voting amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which has led to health officials advising Americans to avoid large public gatherings, particularly indoors.
“It is clearly in the public interest to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, to ensure safe alternatives to in-person voting, and to require that the USPS comply with the law,” read the judge’s opinion, according to the Post.
The lawsuit, brought in late August by New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) as well as the attorneys general of Hawaii, New Jersey, and the district attorneys of New York City and San Francisco argued that DeJoy’s changes were made without first consulting the Postal Regulatory Commission, a federal agency that oversees the service.
“This USPS slowdown is nothing more than a voter suppression tactic,” James said at the time it was filed. “Yet, this time, these authoritarian actions are not only jeopardizing our democracy and fundamental right to vote, but the immediate health and financial well-being of Americans across the nation.”