Postmaster General Louis DeJoy announced on Tuesday that he is "suspending" changes to mail delivery that experts have said could cause voters to be disenfranchised.
DeJoy, a top Trump donor, had come under fire from Democratic lawmakers for the changes, including removing mail-sorting machines and mailboxes and cutting overtime hours for workers. Social media petitions and posts spread the word that the United States Postal Service was in danger.
The changes have already caused slowdowns in mail service that have caused some Americans to have to wait days or even weeks for, among other things, critical medications that are delivered by the Postal Service.
Democrats had been sounding the alarm that the changes could impact the 2020 election, as numerous states are shifting to voting by mail in an effort to avoid in-person voting and stop the spread of the coronavirus.
The Postal Service itself warned nearly every state in the country that voters could lose the ability to cast votes in the 2020 elections as slowdowns in mail processing could cause ballots to be delayed and ultimately tossed out.
And Donald Trump, who has repeated false accusations of widespread fraud connected with mail-in voting, admitted last week that defunding the Postal Service would prevent Americans from voting absentee.
DeJoy now says he is pausing the changes in mail service.
"To avoid even the appearance of any impact on election mail, I am suspending these initiatives until after the election is concluded," DeJoy said in a statement on Tuesday. "Mail processing equipment and blue collection boxes will remain where they are. ... And we reassert that overtime has, and will continue to be, approved as needed."
It's unclear how much damage has already been done, or whether the changes already made will be reversed. CNN had obtained documents that showed 95% of bulk sorting machines that had been targeted for removal may have already been removed.
Marc Elias, an election law expert who fights voter suppression tactics, said he is still looking into whether DeJoy's announcement of the suspension of mail changes will be sufficient.
"As Pres. Reagan said, 'Trust but verify,'" Elias tweeted.
House Democrats are planning to pass a bill on Saturday that would block DeJoy from making changes altogether.
DeJoy will also face questions about the changes when he testifies before the Senate on Friday and the House on Monday.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.
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