Reprinted with permission from DailyKos
A federal district judge in New York ruled Monday that the U.S. Postal Service has to treat election mail as a priority, another loss for Postmaster General Louis DeJoy in the courts. The judge, Victor Marrero, also ordered that overtime and extra deliveries had to be permitted by the USPS as election mail demands. This came in a suit brought by several candidates for office and New York voters against Donald Trump and DeJoy.
Marrero blasted USPS leadership and Donald Trump in his ruling. "They have not provided trusted assurance and comfort that citizens will be able to cast ballots with full confidence that their votes would be timely collected and counted," the 87-page opinion states. "Rather, as detailed below, their actions have given rise to management and operational confusion, to directives that tend to generate uncertainty as to who is in charge of policies that ultimately could affect the reliability of absentee ballots, thus potentially discouraging voting by mail."
This comes as previous federal and state courts have slapped DeJoy over Postal Service sabotage. Another federal court in Washington state blocked DeJoy's operational changes, ordering a halt to the transportation schedule he's imposed that has resulted in delivery delays across the country. Marrero ordered that all election-related mail—including voter registration materials, absentee or mail-in ballot applications, polling place notifications, blank ballots, and completed ballots—has to be treated as first-class or priority express mail. The USPS has to file weekly, public reports informing the court and the public of its performance.
"Conflicting, vague, and ambivalent managerial signals could also sow substantial doubt about whether the USPS is up to the task, whether it possesses the institutional will power and commitment to its historical mission, and so to handle the exceptional burden associated with a profoundly critical task in our democratic system, that of collecting and delivering election mail a few weeks from now," Marrero said. His order gives both sides until noon Friday to determine a plan acceptable to both parties and to his findings. If they fail, he will impose an order on the Postal Service that makes sure postal workers have overtime and that they can make late and extra trips in order to get election mail throughout the month of October and early November.
"The right to vote is too vital a value in our democracy to be left in a state of suspense in the minds of voters weeks before a presidential election, raising doubts as to whether their votes will ultimately be counted," Marrero wrote.