A federal judge in Washington state issued a nationwide injunction late yesterday directing Postmaster General Louis DeJoy to halt many controversial actions that plaintiffs argued were designed to suppress voting in this falls’ election, Included in Judge Stanley Bastian’s order: a requirement that the Postal Service treat all election related mail as first class postage.
This is from CNN:
A federal judge issued a historic decision to temporarily block the US Postal Service and Postmaster General Louis DeJoy from changing a wide swath of USPS policies or protocols ahead of November’s presidential election.
The opinion from Judge Stanley Bastian in Eastern Washington’s US District Court enjoin Trump administration postal policies as harmful to voters’ ability to cast ballots this November and deliberately suppressive to voters. It places the judge at the center of a political furor in which the court steps into the extraordinary position of stopping the entire USPS from making any changes that may affect efficient mail delivery nationwide.
“Although not necessarily apparent on the surface, at the heart of DeJoy’s and the Postal Service’s actions is voter disenfranchisement,” Bastian wrote. “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 … high speed mail sorting machines that were decommissioned were located in counties where Hillary Clinton received the most votes in 2016.”
The USPS must now undo all changes made in the last few months, including the only one DeJoy has taken ownership of: significantly restricting late and extra trips, according to the decision.
The decision mandates that all election mail, regardless of postage, must be treated as first-class mail. It also states that USPS must notify the court of all requests — prior, current or future — to reconnect mail sorting machines within three days of Thursday’s order or within three days of a future request.
North Carolina — through Attorney General Josh Stein — was party to one of the lawsuits challenging the the Postal Service’s voter suppression efforts.