Judges strike down USPS cost-cutting moves
Washington Postal Scene by Bill McAllister
Two federal judges — one in Washington state and the other in Manhattan — have struck down Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s steps to cut costs, ruling that his actions threaten delivery of election mail.
United States Postal Service spokesman David Partenheimer said the agency was considering whether to appeal the rulings.
“There should be no doubt, however, that the Postal Service is ready and fully committed to handling expected increased volumes of Election Mail between now and the conclusion of the November 3rd election,” he said.
“Our number one priority is to deliver the nation’s Election Mail securely and in a timely fashion,” Partenheimer added.
Lee Moak, who heads the election mail committee on the Postal Service’s board of governors, scoffed at the suggestion that DeJoy’s changes were politically inspired. That is “completely and utterly without merit,” Moak said in a statement.
However both judges said they were not impressed by the Postal Service’s arguments in their courtrooms.
“The right to vote is too vital a value in our democracy to be left in a state of suspense in the minds of voters weeks before a presidential election, raising doubts as to whether their votes will ultimately be counted,” said Victor Marrero, U.S. district judge of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, in a Sept. 21 ruling in Manhattan.
Marrero’s decision follows a similar one by Stanley Bastian, chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington on Sept. 17.
Bastian found that several states that had challenged DeJoy’s actions had demonstrated that postal officials “are involved in a politically motivated attack on the efficiency of the postal service.”
Bastian said that President Donald Trump had repeatedly attacked voting by mail and warned that DeJoy’s actions may create “a substantial possibility many voters will be disenfranchised.”
Bastian, an appointee of President Barack Obama, was critical of DeJoy’s directive that postal distribution trucks must depart on their scheduled routes regardless of whether additional mail is being processed at the distribution center.
Marrero, an appointee of President Bill Clinton, cited “a stunning lack of uniformity and a high level of confusion at various points in the USPS hierarchy regarding the standards to be followed by USPS employees on the ground.”
In congressional testimony DeJoy has said that he was directing some of his changes to be delayed until after the elections.
Democrats in the House of Representatives have been highly critical of DeJoy’s actions, and some have charged his steps will impact efforts of voters to cast their election ballots by mail.
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