A group of states sued the U.S. Postal Service and its high-ranking officials Friday, claiming the Trump administration has made operational changes that will disenfranchise voters ahead of the November election.
They say the changes lead to election interference in violation of the U.S. Constitution, according to the 68-page complaint filed in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
“The objective of this lawsuit is to prevent the Trump administration from intentionally and unlawfully undermining the delivery of mail-in voting ballots for the purpose of interfering with the November elections,” said Karl A. Racine, attorney general of Washington, D.C.
Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Maine, Delaware, California and North Carolina all joined the lawsuit.
“Americans need a safe, secure and reliable way to cast their ballots as COVID-19 continues to spread. Allowing everyone the choice to vote by mail — as President Trump himself has done in several recent elections — is the obvious answer. Our coalition of state attorneys general is working to undo the damage already done and make sure everyone’s ballot is counted in November,” Mr. Racine said.
The lawsuit claims U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy implemented service and policy changes in July including limiting overtime for staff and eliminated late and extra delivery trips.
Critics say this has all led to a backlog, suggesting the postal service won’t be able to handle an increase in mail-in voting this election, as many people don’t want to leave home due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The lawsuit says many of the states are already seeing a record number of requests for mail-in ballots. The lawsuit points to North Carolina, which has received more than 10 times the number of absentee ballot requests than compared to 2016.
California and D.C. — for the first time — are allowing all registered voters to vote by mail. In the 2020 primaries, Pennsylvania had nearly 18 times the number of mail in ballots compared to 2016.
“Despite the many benefits of mail-in voting — and the necessity of relying on mail-in voting during the current health crisis — President Trump has repeatedly sought to undermine confidence in voting by mail, falsely asserting that mail-in votes are subject to widespread fraud,” the lawsuit said.
“In fact, the States take numerous steps to protect against fraud, through techniques such as matching signatures, requiring witnesses, and providing each voter with an individually identified return envelope in which to place the voter’s sealed ballot,” the complaint argued.
Mr. Trump, meanwhile, has pointed to areas in Florida, New Jersey, Virginia, California and New York that have seen issues in prior elections, suggesting there could be long delays in getting election results on Nov. 3, as well as the potential for widespread voter fraud.
“This is about all of us. This is about the country,” the president said. “I think this is a very disgraceful situation.”
Mr. Trump said there is a “mad” theory that if there is no results by the end of 2020, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi would become president.
“That is part of their whole act,” he alleged.
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