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Public Citizen, LDF File Lawsuit Against the USPS to Suspend Implementation of Postal Service Changes Ahead of the November Election

Lawsuit Filed on Behalf of NAACP

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) and Public Citizen today filed a lawsuit on behalf of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) against the U.S. Postal Service.

The suit, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, argues that recent changes by USPS were implemented in violation of federal law and have led to widespread disruptions in mail delivery that risk delaying the delivery of mail-in ballots — thereby causing voter disenfranchisement — for the November 2020 election. The NAACP, the nation’s largest and oldest civil rights grassroots organization, and its members rely on the timely delivery of the mail for a variety of important functions, including mail-in voting.

“As we approach the November election amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it is critical to ensure that every eligible voter has access to reliable mail service. The USPS’ decision to suddenly reduce services this summer has resulted in unacceptable mail delays that stand to profoundly affect the delivery of mail-in ballots and ballot applications,” said Sam Spital, LDF’s director of litigation.

“Our lawsuit on behalf of the NAACP asks that these changes are immediately suspended, as they were implemented in violation of federal law. It is critical that the USPS resume the prioritization of important letter mail, including ballots, to preserve the integrity of the upcoming election — and to ensure that all Americans are confident that their ballots and other important mail will be delivered promptly and reliably.”

“Politicizing the postal service is a threat to all Americans — to our right to vote, our receipt of important checks and medicines, and our ability to pay our bills on time. Although the Postmaster General rescinded some of his changes this week, half measures won’t do when it comes to timely delivery of important mail and ensuring people’s right to vote,” said Allison Zieve, director of Public Citizen Litigation Group.

“As the country faces an uphill battle against COVID-19 and systemic racism, we’re witnessing a significant onslaught against our postal system at a time when prompt mail delivery matters more than ever, especially for voters of color. This willful and blatant attempt to obstruct the mail system amid a pandemic and on the precipice of a pivotal election is a threat to the people of this nation to exercise their right to be heard in a fair and free election. The NAACP is committed to fighting for its members and the people of this nation to ensure we all have unfettered access to the ballot box, whether through in-person or mail-in voting,” said Derrick Johnson, president and CEO of the NAACP.

Reliable mail service is a basic public good and an essential part of American democracy. And, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, mail-in voting is more important than ever, as it allows for voters to maintain social distancing while casting secure ballots. Indeed, historic levels of mail-in voting are expected for the November 2020 election, for which over three-quarters of Americans will be eligible to request a ballot by mail.

View the lawsuit here.