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Second lawsuit claims USPS changes will harm mail voting

The attorneys general say ballots may not be sent or received in time and some voters may simply not vote out of concern their ballot won't get counted.

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 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 Donald Trump 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.

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

The postal delays, the lawsuit said, also makes 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.”

Credit: AP
A person drops into a mail box applications for mail-in ballots, in Omaha, Neb., Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020.

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

The attorneys general who sued are in California, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C.

The case is similar to but slightly different than a federal suit 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.

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