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A group of 21 state attorneys general are demanding that the US Postal Service reverse its planned delays in first-class mail delivery, which they argue will disenfranchise voters sending their ballots by mail and hurt rural communities relying on mail for their medicines, paychecks and other essentials.
New York Attorney General Letitia James led a group calling on the Postal Regulatory Commission to reject Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s proposed cuts, which would raise mail prices and trim delivery times by as much as two days, citing a budget shortfall at the agency.
The attorneys general said those cuts would impact up to 96 per cent of ZIP codes in the US.
“For nearly a year now, we have had to fight the United States Postal Service tooth and nail to fulfill its mission,” Ms James said in a statement. “Now, instead of fixing the problems that remain delinquent a year later, Postmaster General DeJoy wants to lead the USPS in making further service cuts that would only result in more delays.”
She warned that states “will not hesitate to use every tool at our disposal to hold the USPS accountable” if the service cuts remain in place.
Mr DeJoy – a Trump appointee now under federal investigation for allegedly pressuring his former employees to contribute to political campaigns – outlined a plan to slow the delivery of first-class mail from two to three days to as much as five days to reach its destination. (Mr DeJoy has denied any wrongdoing.)
The Democratic attorneys general said the plan would add barriers to sending and receiving absentee ballots, “frustrating the states’ ability to administer their elections and potentially resulting in voter disenfranchisement”.
Democratic lawmakers have repeatedly pressured the agency’s governing board and President Joe Biden to remove Mr DeJoy from his post after mailboxes and sorting machines were removed ahead of 2020 elections, while the former president undermined mail-in ballots and falsely claimed the election was “rigged” against him with a flood of fraudulent ballots.
The president’s three nominations to the governing board began their terms on 15 June, giving the board a narrow Democrat-leaning majority with potential power to remove Mr DeJoy.
In 2020, Attorney General James previously led a lawsuit and filed an injunction against the Trump administration to block slowdowns at the USPS.