- Attorneys general from a slew of at least 20 states are suing the Trump administration amid continued attacks against the United States Postal Service, The Washington Post reported.
- Virginia’s attorney general, Mark Herring, told Business Insider that legal action was on the table, adding that residents were worried not only about their votes but also about receiving their medicines, bill payments, and other purchases on time.
- “We will not be deterred by Donald Trump’s blatant attempts to undermine the integrity of our elections,” Maura Healey, the chief legal officer for Massachusetts, said.
- Josh Stein, North Carolina’s attorney general, said “people need to know they can vote safely, their vote will count, and the results will reflect our collective will.”
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
The US Postal Service is at the center of the 2020 presidential election following President Donald Trump’s repeated baseless claims that voting by mail will lead to voter fraud and his acknowledgment last week that he wanted to block USPS funding to sabotage mail-in voting.
Now, a group of attorneys general from at least 20 states are formally suing the Postal Service as part of an effort to ensure that that mail service is not interrupted before November 3, The Washington Post first reported on Tuesday.
Postmaster General Louis DeJoy — a major Trump donor with no prior government experience — has said he hopes to reduce costs by cutting down on overtime and late trips, which has disrupted mail delivery in some parts of the country. Critics say the measures are meant not to financially repair the long-ailing USPS but to compromise the effectiveness of mail-in voting.
In the lawsuits, states are expected to argue that some of the more recent changes DeJoy made to mail delivery, including limiting overtime and late trips, violate federal law because they were not formally approved by the Postal Regulatory Commission.
Some states are also arguing that the changes to mail service and delivery, in addition to the removal of mail sorting machines in some areas, violate the Voting Rights Act of 1965 by disproportionately impacting cities with large Black and Latino populations, and that the changes violate the Americans with Disabilities Act by making it more difficult to vote by mail, the Post reported.
The Post said that the states filing lawsuits include Washington, Maryland, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Wisconsin, according to the Post.
Virginia’s attorney general, Mark Herring, confirmed to Business Insider that legal action was on the table for him and his colleagues.
“Since the end of last week this has been the largest topic of constituent communication to my office,” he said. “And beyond just concerns about voting, people are concerned they may not get their medication, that bills or payments may be late, and that necessary goods may not arrive to them on time.”
Herring also said that every vote must count, regardless of whether it was cast in person or via a mail-in ballot.
“My colleagues and I are working as we speak to determine what Trump and DeJoy are doing, whether they have already violated or are likely to violate any laws, and what tools we have at our disposal to put a stop to President Trump’s ongoing attack on our postal service and our democracy,” Herring said.
Massachusetts’ attorney general, Maura Healey, is having similar conversations about potential next steps, her office told Business Insider.
“We will not be deterred by Donald Trump’s blatant attempts to undermine the integrity of our elections,” Healey said in a statement. “We are exploring all options available to ensure everyone’s vote is counted.”
This stance was echoed by North Carolina’s attorney general, Josh Stein, who said the USPS was “the definition of an essential service” and acted as a “lifeline” for small business and rural communities statewide. Voting by mail ensures that people’s voices can be heard without compromising their health, he said.
“I am exploring all of our state’s legal options after the Postal Service’s recent actions that have slowed down mail delivery across the country,” Stein said in a statement.
Alongside promising to “protect” both the USPS and North Carolinians’ right to vote, Stein accused Trump of attempting to “undermine our faith in the integrity of the elections.”
“Our democracy depends on people accepting the legitimacy of the results; that’s how we’ve had the peaceful transfer of power throughout our history,” he said.
Trump has repeatedly claimed that expanding mail-in voting — as many hope to do over coronavirus concerns related to in-person voting — would lead to a “corrupt” election and “massive fraud and abuse,” with election officials consistently contradicting his claims. Five states have already implemented vote-by-mail programs.
Stein called on Congress to ensure that the Postal Service doesn’t face operational or financial challenges before the election and urged voters to learn how they could vote by mail in a safe and timely manner, armed with the knowledge that every vote would count.
“North Carolinians have requested mail-in ballots in record numbers for our upcoming elections,” Stein said. “People need to know they can vote safely, their vote will count, and the results will reflect our collective will.”
As of Tuesday, more than 5.4 million Americans had tested positive for the coronavirus, with more than 170,500 dying of the infection, based on data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.