USPS Hit With Fourth Injunction Over Changes During Election


A federal judge in Pennsylvania became the fourth to issue a nationwide injunction against the U.S. Postal Service over disruptive operational changes initiated by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy.

U.S. District Judge Gerald Austin McHugh issued the injunction Monday in a suit filed by six Democratic state attorneys general and the District of Columbia. The judge said mail service “dropped precipitously” after DeJoy began his tenure this year and that states’ administration of the upcoming election “has been and will continue to be frustrated as a result of mail delays.”

More than a dozen states have claimed in three lawsuits that DeJoy and President Donald Trump sought to hobble the postal agency before an expected surge in use of mail-in ballots during the pandemic, with a fourth complaint brought by a group of voters. The suits are part of a broader clash between Democrats and Republicans over absentee voting, which Trump has argued -- without evidence -- will result in a “rigged” election.

McHugh said in his order that he was “troubled” by “what appears to be a strategic effort by defendants to limit the court’s understanding of the significant degree to which some top officials of the Postal Service were directly involved in the operational changes that went into effect in July.”

But the judge, a Barack Obama appointee, said it was too early to determine whether DeJoy and Trump had intentionally tried to undermine the election.

Commenting on the ruling, several of the plaintiff states double-downed on their allegations of intentional meddling in the delivery of mail-in ballots, which many Americans are expected to use to avoid getting sick in crowded polling places.

“It’s time for President Trump to follow the law and stop interfering with our mail,” California Attorney General Xaviar Becerra said in a statement. “Our elections — and the health and livelihood of American families — depend on it.”

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

BQ Install

Bloomberg Quint

Add BloombergQuint App to Home screen.