HARRISBURG, Pa. — Democratic attorneys general in six more states and the District of Columbia sued the Postal Service on Friday over changes they say have undermined mail-in voting ahead of the November election.

The lawsuit was filed against Postmaster General Louis DeJoy just as he was answering questions about the policies at a U.S. Senate hearing in Washington. The other defendants are the Postal Service and the agency’s board chairman.

Agency leaders have interfered with how states conduct elections, “and thus violated plaintiffs’ constitutional authority to set the ‘Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives,’” the plaintiffs stated in the suit, quoting from the U.S. Constitution.

The complaint notes the Trump campaign and Republican entities have filed lawsuits against aspects of mail-in voting, and lists multiple tweets and other statements by President Trump about mail-in voting that it described as “false and unsubstantiated statements.”

The Democratic attorneys general say the new policies were adopted without following federal law, asking to prevent them from being implemented. They also want a monitor appointed to oversee compliance with any court order.

Maine Attorney General Aaron Frey said Tuesday through his spokesman that the states would press their suit against DeJoy even though the postmaster general had promised to suspend the operational changes until after the election.


“Maine and other states involved in the lawsuit have no intention of dropping the suit despite Postmaster General DeJoy’s pledge to not make any more changes until after the election,” Frey said in a statement.

The complaint led by Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro alleges that delays the policy changes have produced have already caused problems for people waiting for prescription drugs, money, food and other mail.

The postal delays, the lawsuit said, also make it harder for states to perform other governmental duties, including collecting revenue.

It says the postal agency “may disenfranchise voters because their ballots will not be sent or received in time and may deter people from voting because they do not trust that their ballot will be delivered.”

Voting by mail, greatly expanded in Pennsylvania under a law enacted in 2019, has grown throughout the country this year, driven by fears that in-person voting could needlessly expose people to the coronavirus.

In addition to Maine, the attorneys general who sued are in California, Delaware, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C.


The case is similar to but slightly different from a federal lawsuit filed Tuesday in Washington state that also included plaintiff states Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Wisconsin. That lawsuit names Trump as a defendant, along with the Postal Service and DeJoy, accusing the president of infringing on state power to administer elections through his attacks on mail balloting.

Trump said last week that he was opposed to an emergency bailout for the agency because he does not want widespread voting by mail in the fall. That prompted a rush of action by state election officials and Democratic lawmakers, who say the president’s attacks on mail voting and the recent operational changes by DeJoy, a top Republican donor, are undermining confidence in the Nov. 3 election.

The Washington suit, quoting heavily from the president’s tweets and media appearances, alleges Trump has repeatedly and deliberately sowed mistrust about voting by mail, thereby interfering with and undermining the states’ rights to conduct elections.

Among the service changes the suits seek to block are elimination of staff overtime, altered operations at state distribution centers and the removal of mailboxes and critical mail-sorting equipment. All of those threaten the timely delivery of mail to people who rely on the Postal Service for a wide range of essentials, including medical prescriptions and ballots, the states argue.

The agency’s operational changes caused nationwide slowdowns that the attorneys general argue required advance public notice to and approval by the Postal Regulatory Commission. That process would have enabled the states to weigh in on the impact before the changes were implemented.

The USPS also recently warned 46 states and D.C. that it could not guarantee the delivery of ballots under their current deadlines. The agency urged states to send election mail first-class rather than third-class. States and counties that use marketing or bulk-rate postage for their ballots could see delays that may prevent some ballots from being counted.

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