The Trump administration urged a D.C. federal judge Friday not to block operational changes to the U.S. Postal Service that a coalition of states claim threaten election mail, arguing that staffing shortages are due to the COVID-19 pandemic and equipment and overtime changes were routine.
In June and July, the postal service implemented several operation changes, including removing mail-sorting equipment and eliminating overtime, according to a suit lodged in late August by several states and cities, including New York and Hawaii. Last week, the states and cities filed an injunction motion aimed at quickly reversing the operational changes, which they say have slowed delivery and threaten to leave mail-in ballots uncounted.
New York Attorney General Letitia James has said the changes are clearly aimed at voter suppression in an election at a time when mail-in voting is expected to rise sharply as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The suit was filed against Trump, the USPS and Postmaster General Louis DeJoy.
But Trump, DeJoy and the USPS said Friday that its removal of equipment was a standard “reduction in redundant processing equipment and collection boxes” that has no ties to the upcoming election. For years, the postal service has regularly reduced or reallocated collection boxes and equipment, they said in an opposition brief.