The NAACP on Thursday filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) and Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, claiming that changes to the agency have resulted in “unreliable service and widespread delays” that threaten to deprive Americans of their right to vote.
The lawsuit – filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia – seeks to have a federal judge block USPS from enacting many of DeJoy’s “unauthorized changes” and declare that the agency “acted arbitrarily, capriciously, and in violation of section 101(e) by failing to give highest consideration to the delivery of important letter mail, including ballots.”
The NAACP’s legal challenge is one of several filed against DeJoy and USPS since President Donald Trump earlier this month conceded he was withholding funds from the agency to prevent states from expanding access to universal mail-in voting.
“As the country faces an uphill battle against COVID-19 and systemic racism, we’re witnessing a significant onslaught against our postal system at a time when prompt mail delivery matters more than ever, especially for voters of color,” said Derrick Johnson, President and CEO, NAACP. “This willful and blatant attempt to obstruct the mail system amidst a pandemic and on the precipice of a pivotal election is a direct threat to the people of this nation’s right to vote in a fair and free election.”
Following severe backlash oer cutbacks and reassigning the agency’s top officials, DeJoy on Tuesday said that USPS would cease making widescale changes until after the presidential election in November. Critics said his plan did not assuage their fears; DeJoy did not state whether the USPS planned on restoring any of the mail sorting equipment that had been dismantled or the mail dropboxes that had been removed under circumstances which have been debated.
“This cynical attack on the United States Postal Service places our democracy in danger, and the backlog of mail has caused extraordinary legal, political, economic and health repercussions,” the NAACP said in a statement Thursday. “The people of this nation deserve better. The NAACP is committed to fighting long and hard to ensure its members and the people of this nation have unfettered access to the ballot box, whether by voting in-person or by utilizing mail-in voting.”
Read the full lawsuit below.
[Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images]
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