Democratic attorneys general in six states and the District of Columbia sued the Postal Service on Friday over changes they say have undermined mail-in voting ahead of the November election.
The lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Pennsylvania was filed against Postmaster General Louis DeJoy just as he was being grilled about the policies at a Senate hearing in Washington.
DeJoy, an ally of President Donald Trump, has come under scrutiny for implementing cost-saving measures that resulted in widespread delays and prompted fears the USPS won’t be able to handle a surge in mail-in ballots in the presidential election.
But DeJoy assured senators on Friday the election would be handled “securely and on time.”
The suit alleges recent USPS operational and policy changes have already “led to significant delays in mail delivery across the country."
“These changes — which include prohibiting late or extra trips by postal workers that are often necessary to keep the mail moving forward in the mail stream; requiring carriers to adhere rigidly to start and stop times regardless of whether all mail for their route has arrived or been delivered; and limiting the use of overtime —were made without due regard to their likely impact on mail service and in violation of the procedural requirements of the Postal Reorganization Act," the lawsuit says.
The Democratic attorneys general are asking the court to prevent the changes from being implemented. They also want a monitor appointed to oversee compliance with any court order.
The complaint led by Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro alleges that the delays the policy changes have produced have already caused problems for people waiting for prescription drugs, money, food and other mail — and that the agency "may disenfranchise voters because their ballots will not be sent or received in time and may deter people from voting because they do not trust that their ballot will be delivered."
The attorneys general who sued are in California, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C.
The case is similar to but slightly different than a federal suit filed Tuesday in Washington state that also included plaintiff states Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Wisconsin.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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