U.S. Postal Service chief says no operational changes ahead of Nov. 3 election

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U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy on Tuesday suspended all mail service changes until the end of the November election, ceding to outcry from Democrats that the measures appeared to be an attempt to boost the president’s re-election chances Donald Trump.The reversal follows accusations by Democrats and others that service cuts could slow the processing of mail-in ballots, the use of which is expected to skyrocket for elections as the coronavirus pandemic raises fears of crowds.

Those critics accused the Republican president of trying to obstruct the Postal Service to suppress postal voting as he trails Democratic presidential challenger Joe Biden in opinion polls ahead of the November 3 election.

“I am suspending these initiatives until the end of the election,” DeJoy said in a statement, adding that the changes are intended to “avoid even the appearance of any impact on election mail.”

In this August 5 file photo, DeJoy, left, is escorted to the office of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Carolyn Kaster / The Associated Press)

DeJoy, a major political donor and Trump ally, took over the post in June.

Trump continued his attack on postal voting on Tuesday, speculating that delayed results could mean the Nov. 3 election is expected to take place a second time.

“It’ll end up being a rigged election or they’ll never come out with a result,” Trump told reporters Tuesday. “They will have to start over, and nobody wants to. ”

One in four ballots in 2016 were filed by mail, and Trump himself votes that way.

No mailbox deleted, installations closed

In his statement, DeJoy also said that the USPS will not change the hours of operation of post offices and that mail collection boxes will remain where they are and that no mail processing facilities will be closed. .

The overthrow follows a long appeal from the Post Board of Governors on Monday evening, two people briefed on the matter said.

Trump said last week that he was against Democratic efforts to include funds for the USPS and electoral infrastructure in relief coronavirus legislation because he wanted to limit postal voting during the pandemic.

Earlier on Tuesday, states such as Washington, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and New York said they were planning legal action to block the cuts.

“The integrity of our elections is fundamental to the democracy of our nation, and we will not allow anyone to undermine them, not even the President of the United States,” said New York Attorney General Letitia James.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro cautiously greeted DeJoy’s proposed actions.

“I’ll believe it when I see it,” Shapiro said. “I hope the American people can breathe a sigh of relief. But I will not let my foot on the gas as long as postal officials continue to break the law. “

Pursue Trump and DeJoy

Several people, including candidates for public office, sued Trump and DeJoy in New York City on August 17 to ensure adequate funding for postal operations. The lawsuit was in response to the president’s comments and actions DeJoy was taking to change operations at post offices across the country.

Democrats have raised concerns that reducing postal service costs could result in missed or delayed ballots. They have flagged the reduction in overtime, restrictions on additional mail transport trips, and new mail sorting and delivery policies as changes that threaten to slow mail delivery – and in some cases, they have it. have already done.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Tuesday she was moving forward with a bill that would prevent the post office from cutting service levels below what they were in January.

DeJoy is scheduled to testify before the Republican-led Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs on Friday, committee and USPS spokespersons said. DeJoy, a major political donor and Trump ally, took over the post in June.

DeJoy is also expected to testify before the Democratic-led House Oversight and Reform Committee on Monday.

Mark Dimondstein, president of the American Postal Workers Union, which represents more than 200,000 employees, told Fox News that DeJoy’s policy changes “are really slowing the mail. Customers see it.… Postal workers see it – mail is fully saved. ”

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