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Press Release AG Healey to Sue to Stop President Trump’s Service Changes at Postal Service, Secure Vote-By-Mail

Multistate Effort to Protect U.S. Postal Service and Ensure Safe and Secure Vote-by-Mail
For immediate release:
8/18/2020
  • Office of Attorney General Maura Healey

Media Contact for AG Healey to Sue to Stop President Trump’s Service Changes at Postal Service, Secure Vote-By-Mail

Emalie Gainey

BostonAttorney General Maura Healey announced today that Massachusetts has joined a multistate coalition that will file a federal lawsuit challenging nationwide operational changes at the U.S. Postal Service. The lawsuit seeks to halt unilateral changes at the Postal Service and ensure safe, secure vote-by-mail across the country.

Service and policy changes at the Postal Service, including limiting staff overtime and so-called “late or extra shifts,” have impacted the prompt delivery of mail to Americans who rely on the Postal Service for everything from medical prescriptions to ballots.

“By interfering with the Postal Service, President Trump is putting both our democracy and people’s health at risk,” said AG Healey. “We are suing to ensure the integrity of our electoral process and to make sure each and every vote is counted during this election.”

“We have always relied on the Postal Service to deliver ballots for voters who are not able to vote in person, and this year is no different,” said Secretary of the Commonwealth William F. Galvin. “Massachusetts voters need to know that they can depend upon the Postal Service to deliver their ballots in a timely manner, so that those who are not able to go to their polling places this fall can still have their voices heard.”

“In the middle of a pandemic, right before America begins to vote, Donald Trump and his hand-picked, campaign mega-donor Postmaster General are attempting to undermine the integrity of our election by sabotaging the United States Postal Service,” said Rules Committee Chairman Jim McGovern. “This timing is more than suspicious – it’s outrageous, it’s wrong, and I believe it’s unconstitutional. If this president can abuse the power of his office to cheat in an election, then any president after him will be able to get away with the same thing. We cannot and will not let that happen to our country.”

“Employees on the workroom floor are seeing the impacts of the new Postmaster General’s policy changes,” said John Flattery, president of the American Postal Workers Union, Central MA Area Local 4553. “These delays are the result of the Trump Administration’s willingness to harm an American institution like the Postal Service in the hope of winning an election. On behalf of the more than 600 members of this local union, I want to thank Attorney General Healey for stepping in to help protect the Postal service and allow the dedicated Postal employees to do what they do best, deliver the mail.”

The multistate lawsuit, led by Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, will assert the Postal Service unlawfully implemented widespread changes to mail service nationwide. The suit seeks to immediately reverse the agency’s actions, and guarantee safeguards and standards for election mail.

Recent changes at the Postal Service instituted by Trump-appointed Postmaster General Louis DeJoy have already resulted in mail delays in some parts of the country. Those changes include requiring late-arriving mail to be left for delivery the following day, and limiting the length of shifts, meaning not all mail that goes out for delivery is delivered. The changes at the Postal Service come as President Trump has continued to baselessly claim that widespread vote-by-mail will lead to a fraudulent election.

While the Massachusetts Secretary of State’s Office has undertaken considerable efforts to ensure voters are able to vote easily, safely and securely – including funding the first class mail rate for ballot applications to be sent to and returned by voters, designating non-USPS ballot drop boxes and expanding early in-person voting – AG Healey is taking action to prevent the Trump Administration from any effort to interfere with the operations of the Postal Service.

The attorneys general assert that the Postal Service has acted outside of its authority to implement changes to the postal system and did not follow the proper procedures required by federal law. Changes at the U.S. Postal Service that cause a nationwide impact in mail service must be submitted to the Postal Regulatory Commission. The commission then evaluates the proposal through a procedure that includes public notice and comment. The Postal Service’s sudden and unilateral changes to the nature of postal services deprived the states of their procedural right to comment on such changes prior to implementation as established by federal law. 

The changes also impede states’ efforts to conduct free and fair elections, a right and authority granted to them by the Constitution. Actions to undermine the efficacy of the Postal Service also undermine the states’ ability to conduct elections in the manner their respective legislatures have chosen. 

The lawsuit seeks to block the unlawful cuts and operational changes at the Postal Service

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Media Contact for AG Healey to Sue to Stop President Trump’s Service Changes at Postal Service, Secure Vote-By-Mail

Office of Attorney General Maura Healey 

Attorney General Maura Healey is the chief lawyer and law enforcement officer of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
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