Postal Service Can Handle a Surge of Mail-In Ballots, U.S. Says

The U.S. Postal Service is equipped to handle a surge of mail-in ballots on Election Day, according to government lawyers who are defending operational changes by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy that critics say could undermine the vote tally in November.

In a court filing Friday, the Justice Department urged a federal judge in Washington to block a lawsuit by a coalition of states claiming DeJoy’s changes -- including the removal of high-speed sorting machines and alterations to how the Postal Service collects mail -- will make it harder to count mail-in ballots just as more people use them to avoid in-person voting during the pandemic.

“Nothing has changed in USPS’s approach to Election Mail from past years, except that the Postal Service has put in place even more processes to monitor and move these ballots in response to the major increase in Election Mail volume,” the DOJ said in its filing.

The coalition of states suing to reverse the changes is led by New York Attorney General Letitia James. Her office declined to comment on the Justice Department’s response.

The lawsuit is one of several brought by advocacy groups and state officials who claim DeJoy’s changes are intended to help the re-election of President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly argued without evidence that increased use of mail-in ballots will lead to massive voting fraud.

In its response to a similar lawsuit in New York, the Justice Department said this week that the Postal Service has “enhanced” rather than diminished its efforts to ensure the timely delivery of election mail. In another case in the state of Washington, a federal judge last month ordered DeJoy and Trump to start handing over evidence sought by 14 states suing over the changes.

But the federal government maintains that the lawsuits are inviting judges to interfere in a process that is operating perfectly smoothly on its own.

“This case is now about plaintiffs’ attempts to have this court oversee the day-to-day operations of USPS,” the Justice Department said Friday.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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