YAKIMA, Wash. — A federal judge based in Washington state has sided with a multi-state coalition of Attorneys General who requested a nationwide injunction, forcing U.S. Postal Service leadership to rollback policies that could impact voting by mail during the November election.
In an order granting the injunction on Thursday, Chief U.S. District Judge Stanley Bastian wrote that “The Court finds that a nationwide injunction is appropriate in this case. Indeed, if there ever were a mandate for the need of a nationwide injunction, it is in this case.”
“It was alarming to observe the removal and carting away of mail boxes and sorting machines just ahead of a major national election – especially when more Americans will vote by mail than ever before,” said Attorney General Rosenblum. “Thankfully, the judge in our case agreed that that was just wrong – and politically motivated, to boot. All registered voters need to know they can rely on the USPS to deliver their ballot by Election Day. Hopefully now they can!”
While USPS officials in Oregon acknowledged that some boxes have been removed in the state, they characterized it as a routine change due to declining mail volume.
Judge Bastian's order requires USPS leadership to hold with previous policies — halting several cost-cutting measures reportedly implemented this year. According to AG Rosenblum, the order stipulated that USPS:
- Immediately stop changes implemented in July 2020, including its “leave mail behind” policy, where postal trucks are required to leave at specified times, regardless if there is mail still to be loaded
- Continue its longstanding practice of treating all election mail as First Class mail, regardless of the paid postage
- Notify the Court of any instances in which the USPS denied or failed to respond to requests from post offices or distribution centers to reconnect or replace any decommissioned mail-sorting machines needed to ensure timely First Class delivery of election mail
- Abide by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s public commitment to suspend the recent policy changes that have affected mail service until after the election.
In August, Oregon joined the multi-state lawsuit, alleging that the DeJoy "unlawfully" implemented service reductions at USPS. Almost simultaneously, DeJoy publicly promised to halt any changes until after the election.
In his opinion, Judge Bastian wrote, “Although not necessarily apparent on the surface, at the heart of DeJoy’s and the Postal Service’s actions is voter disenfranchisement. This is evident in President Trump’s highly partisan words and tweets, the actual impact of changes on primary elections that resulted in uncounted ballots, and recent attempts and lawsuits by the Republican National Committee and President Trump’s campaign to stop the States’ effort to bypass the Postal Service by utilizing ballot drop boxes, as well as the timing of the changes.”