Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced this week he is leading a coalition of states that filed a lawsuit Tuesday in federal court in Washington state challenging changes at the U.S. Postal Service that opponents say could threaten critical mail delivery and could undermine the national election in November.
The Postal Service cuts, including eliminating staff overtime, halting outgoing mail processing at state distribution centers and removing critical mail sorting equipment, threaten the timely delivery of mail to millions of Americans who rely on the Postal Service for everything from medical prescriptions to ballots, a news release from Ferguson’s Office.
In Washington, the Postmaster General is implementing plans to stop processing outgoing mail at three of the state’s five distribution centers: those in Wenatchee, Yakima and Tacoma. Ferguson argues this will result in mail delays that will impact Washingtonians who rely on the Postal Service for prescriptions and Social Security payments as well as voting by mail.
This means mail sent from one address to another in the same town would have to travel all the way to one of the remaining distribution centers and back again before being delivered. For example, a letter sent from Yakima to a location across town will be sent all the way to Spokane for processing and then back to Yakima.
“For partisan gain, President Trump is attempting to destroy a critical institution that is essential for millions of Americans,” Ferguson said. “We rely on the Postal Service for our Social Security benefits, prescriptions — and exercising our right to vote. Our coalition will fight to protect the Postal Service and uphold the rule of law in federal court.”
Ferguson’s lawsuit asserts that the Postmaster General implemented these drastic changes to mail service unlawfully, and seeks to stop the service reductions.
The changes at the Postal Service come as President Donald Trump has continued to claim without evidence that widespread vote-by-mail will lead to a fraudulent election, Ferguson’s office notes.
“In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is imperative that we fiercely protect the democratic right to vote for all Americans, and simultaneously, the physical safety of voters,” Ferguson said earlier this month. “Expansion of vote-by-mail options across the country allows us to achieve both.”