Amid a growing outcry against cutbacks at the U.S. Postal Service, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy announced Tuesday that he is suspending the changes until after the election.
The move came as California joined several other states in suing the Trump administration over the cutbacks that they say could interfere with mail-in voting.
The reported removal of mail sorting machines and mailboxes, as well as reductions in overtime for postal workers and instructions to leave mail behind are among the changes that California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra said is part of a “de facto attack” by the Trump administration on a free and fair election.
“Our right to vote, your paycheck, your prescription medicines, you can’t get more serious than that. So, for the 96th time, we’re taking President Trump to court. No Americans should fear their vote won’t count simply because Donald Trump fears a free and fair election,” Becerra said in a statement.
DeJoy, a Trump megadonor who has come under fire for the moves, said Tuesday that he would suspend the changes “to avoid even the appearance of any impact on election mail.”
DeJoy described the changes as reforms, some of which predated his tenure, which began in June. He said they aimed at achieving long-term sustainability for the Postal Service.
Delayed mail and the decommissioning of mail sorting machines across the U.S. have raised concerns in recent weeks that voters won’t receive or be able to return their ballots on time in the November election. There are widespread reports of lags, sometimes for weeks, in people receiving critical medications and paychecks by mail. The postal service notified 46 states and the District of Columbia that mail-in ballots may not be delivered timely given the states’ election rules.
DeJoy, who is set to testify before Congress on Monday about changes at the Postal Service, also said he would expand a task force on election mail to ensure that election officials and voters are “fully supported” by his organization.
It remains unclear whether mail sorting machines that have already been decommissioned would be brought back into service.
By Maya Lau, Los Angeles Times
Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH also contributed to this report