Judge Stanley Bastian of the US District Court in Eastern Washington has blocked Postmaster General Louis DeJoy and the US Postal Service (USPS) from implementing policy and protocol changes ahead of the November presidential election. The federal judge contends that implementing voting changes will hurt the ability and freedom of voters to cast their ballots without restrictions.
A former logistics executive and prominent Republican Party donor which took office in June, DeJoy has been in the middle of a controversy that revolves around the ability of the USPS to provide mail ballots to millions of Americans. According to Judge Bastian, the postmaster general’s decision to implement sweeping changes in the postal service as related to voting by mail will lead to voter disenfranchisement.
“It is easy to conclude that the recent Postal Services’ changes are 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.”
He also said President Trump’s “highly partisan words and tweets” and the recent efforts of the government to bypass the postal service by using ballot drop boxes in some states are wrong, given the timing of the changes and the lawsuits of the Republican National Committee.
By Judge Bastian’s order, DeJoy and the USPS must reverse all the policy and protocol changes they had initiated in the last few months. The judge also ordered that election mail must be given first-class mail attention and treatment and that any decision to reconnect mail sorting machines must be communicated with the court within three days – whether in the past, current, or in the future.
“If any post office, distribution center, or other postal facilities will be unable to process election mail for the November 2020 election in accordance with First Class delivery standards because of the Postal Service’s recent removal and decommissioning of equipment, such equipment will be replaced, reassembled, or reconnected to ensure that the Postal Service can comply with its prior policy delivering election mail in accordance with First Class delivery standards,” Bastian ruled.
Meanwhile, DeJoy has convinced the National Association of Secretaries of State that the USPS is fully equipped and able to manage all increment of mails during the election season, according to New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver who organized a call session with him. Oliver said the association needs to be assured that “the election process out of the realm of toxic partisan rhetoric and make sure that voters have the best information possible to make their decisions about how, where and when to cast their ballot.”