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New York Attorney General Letitia James accused Postmaster General Louis DeJoy and President Trump of turning the U.S. Postal Service into "a political football set to undermine a federal election" in a lawsuit seeking to block changes to postal policies that was filed Tuesday.
The big picture: More Americans than ever are expected to vote by mail during the coronavirus pandemic, even as Trump has continually claimed without evidence that increased mail-in voting will lead to widespread voter fraud. He has pledged to block funding for mail-in voting and the USPS.
- New Jersey, Hawaii, New York City and San Francisco were also plaintiffs in James' lawsuit.
- The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Driving the news: DeJoy was called to testify before both the House and Senate this month in the aftermath of operational changes that led to widespread mail delays. DeJoy, a Trump donor and businessman, also faces lawsuits from at least 25 states.
- DeJoy said earlier this month that he would halt the changes and cost cuts until after the 2020 election to "avoid even the appearance of any impact on election mail."
- On-time delivery for priority and first-class mail dropped significantly from July 4 into early August.
What they're saying: "This USPS slowdown is nothing more than a voter suppression tactic," James said in a press release. "Yet, this time, these authoritarian actions are not only jeopardizing our democracy and fundamental right to vote, but the immediate health and financial well-being of Americans across the nation."
- "But as the COVID-19 pandemic began shutting down cities, counties, and states, the Trump Administration made concerted efforts to interfere with the agency and with states’ plans to expand mail-in voting due to the public health crisis."
- "President Trump repeatedly, emphatically, and openly attempted to undermine mail-in voting efforts and the U.S. Postal Service’s ability to ensure the timely delivery of ballots."
The other side: "I am not engaged in sabotaging the election,” DeJoy told a House committee on Monday, calling allegations that he has made sweeping operational changes in order to undercut mail-in voting a "false narrative."
- He reiterated that he will suspend all changes to the USPS until after the election in order to avoid even the appearance of impropriety.
- DeJoy also testified that USPS on-time departures are approaching 98%.