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New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal. (Photo: Nikita Biryukov for the New Jersey Globe)

Grewal sues USPS over DeJoy policy changes

NJ, NY attorneys general seek to overturn new practices responsible for widespread mail delays

By Nikita Biryukov, August 25 2020 12:59 pm

Attorney General Gurbir Grewal announced a suit seeking to block operational changes at the U.S. Postal Service that have seen mail delayed for weeks in part of the country, raising concerns about the agency’s ability to deliver mail-in ballots ahead of the Nov. 3 election.

“Voting by mail is safe, secure, and reliable and we intend to keep it that way for New Jerseyans. Americans will vote by mail in record numbers this November and the Postal Service’s dramatic changes threaten to disenfranchise voters by disrupting mail service,” Grewal said. “We will continue working with other state Attorneys General to protect the election and voter rights.”

The lawsuit, filed in concert with New York Attorney General Letitia James, alleges that new USPS policies instituted by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, a top donor and ally to President Donald Trump, have hamstrung the agency and harmed the country’s citizenry.

DeJoy has changed longstanding USPS policy that required all mail be delivered on time, regardless of whatever additional costs such deliveries accrued. He also ordered mail sorting machines and other equipment removed.

Though the postmaster announced a suspension of those policies last week, testimony he gave before the House Oversight Committee earlier this week cast some doubt on whether the agency would return to its previous state.

“The Postal Service’s unofficial motto states that ‘neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds,’” Grewal said. “The Postal Service has served Americans well since our country’s founding. We are filing this lawsuit to ensure that even politically motivated cutbacks won’t prevent the timely delivery of our residents’ mail.”

The changes came as many states around the country, New Jersey included, pivoted their elections to rely largely on mail-in ballots. President Donald Trump has, repeatedly and without evidence, claimed widespread mail-in voting would lead to fraud on a massive scale.

But the delays at USPS have affected more than ballots and other political mail.

“Countless people in New Jersey and across the nation, including some of our most vulnerable citizens, rely on the mail for prescription drugs and other things that help them survive,” Grewal said. “During this critical time, Americans deserve better than a mail slow-down rooted in political gamesmanship.”

The announcement makes no mention of a criminal grand jury into the changes at the Postal Service sought by Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-Paterson).

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