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Postmaster General Louis DeJoy walking through the Capitol on August 5. Photo: Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

House and Senate Democrats wrote to Postmaster General Louis DeJoy on Wednesday, urging him not to issue new directives for handling election mail ahead of November's general election.

Why it matters: Democrats fear changes to election mail processing practices "will cause further delays to election mail that will disenfranchise voters and put significant financial pressure on election jurisdictions," per a letter written by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (N.Y.) and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (Minn.) and signed by the 47-member Democratic caucus.

Context: DeJoy announced on Aug. 8 that he restructured USPS's leadership, eliminating two officials who oversee day-to-day operations and implementing other cost-cutting measures — changes that Democrats worry will hamstring deliveries.

  • "USPS General Counsel Thomas Marshall told state leaders that, depending on their respective deadlines for requesting an absentee ballot and casting a vote through the postal system, sending election items as bulk mail could cause voters to miss crucial cutoff points," the Washington Post writes.

What they're saying: “Many state deadlines allow voters to request absentee ballot applications and absentee ballots within a few days of Election Day, so it is vital that standard delivery times remain low and pricing remain consistent with past practices to which election officials and voters are accustomed," Senate Democrats wrote.

  • They requested additional communication from state and local election officials “regarding the service standards that will be applied to election mail.”

175 House Democrats signed a separate letter on Wednesday addressed to DeJoy, writing: “The House is seriously concerned that you are implementing policies that accelerate the crisis at the Postal Service, including directing Post Offices to no longer treat all election mail as first class."

The other side: "To ensure that voters who wish to use the mail to vote can do so successfully, it is critical that election officials and voters are mindful of the time that it takes for us to deliver ballots, whether it is a blank ballot going to a voter or a completed ballot going back to election officials," the Postal Service said in a statement, per the Post.

  • "In many cases, certain deadlines concerning mail-in ballots, may be incompatible with the Postal Service’s delivery standards, especially if election officials use marketing mail to send blank ballots to voters."

Of note: Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) introduced legislation on Wednesday aimed at reversing the recent USPS changes.

Go deeper: An election like no other

Go deeper

Updated Nov 20, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Georgia certifies election results

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. Photo: Paras Griffin/Getty Images

Georgia election officials and Gov. Brian Kemp (R) certified the state's election results on Friday, AP reports.

Why it matters: President-elect Biden now officially wins the state by a little more than 12,600 votes, though the Trump campaign has until Tuesday to request a recount since the margin is within 0.5%.

Thousands without power as "hazardous" winter storm lashes East Coast

Winter view from Charlotte as winter storm Izzy creates dangerous conditions in Charlotte, N.C. on Jan. 16. Photo: Peter Zay/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

A major winter storm was lashing much of the East Coast on Sunday, causing widespread power outages and disrupting travel over the holiday weekend.

The big picture: Heavy snow and ice accumulations are "likely to produce hazardous travel," downed trees and more power outages from the Mid-South to the Northeast, per the National Weather Service. Some parts of the U.S. can expect to see up to a foot of snow through Monday.

Updated 3 hours ago - Science

Volcanic eruption in Tonga caused "significant" damage

This satellite image of the eruption on Jan. 15 taken by Himawari-8, a Japanese weather satellite operated by Japan Meteorological Agency and released by National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT). Photo: NICT via AP

Significant damage has been reported in Tonga following an undersea volcanic eruption on Saturday, which covered the Pacific nation in ash and cut off communication lines.

Driving the news: The eruption triggered tsunami warnings across Tonga's islands and in other regions, including the West Coast of the U.S. and New Zealand.

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