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Attorney General Josh Stein Seeks Immediate Stop to Unlawful Postal Service Operations

For Immediate Release:
Thursday, September 3, 2020

Laura Brewer (919) 716-6484

(RALEIGH) Attorney General Josh Stein today filed a preliminary injunction seeking to immediately halt unlawful operational changes at the U.S. Postal Service that have delayed mail delivery and threaten to harm North Carolinians’ ability to conduct free and fair elections.

“The Postmaster General’s changes to the Postal Service’s operations are harmful and illegal,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “His empty promises are not enough to solve the problems he’s created. That’s why I am asking the court to immediately reverse these changes so North Carolinians can pay bills, get medications, conduct business, and vote by mail during a pandemic. I will fight to protect essential mail service for North Carolinians and ensure that every North Carolinian who votes by mail has their vote counted.”

Attorney General Stein’s motion for preliminary injunction is part of a lawsuit he filed against the Postal Service and Postmaster General Louis DeJoy on August 21. Beginning in July, the Postal Service implemented a series of changes to longstanding operations. These changes, which include prohibiting “late” and “extra” trips by mail trucks and restricting when mail carriers must start and end their shifts, have led to significant mail delays and harmed veterans, seniors, and rural communities.

Further, without court intervention, these changes could disrupt the November election. The Postal Service’s changes were made during a global pandemic and as a record number of North Carolinians plan to vote by mail. North Carolina is preparing for more than 2.29 million voters to cast mail-in ballots – as of September 1, more than 591,379 North Carolinians had already requested mail-in ballots. The Postal Service notified many states, including North Carolina, that it could not guarantee delivery of ballots in accordance with state laws and deadlines, which could disenfranchise voters across the country and prevent North Carolinians who vote by mail from having their vote counted.

Attorney General Stein and six other attorneys general argue that the Postmaster General failed to follow a legally mandated process to submit proposed changes to the Postal Regulatory Commission before they take effect. The process is designed to specifically prevent the mail delivery issues caused by the Postmaster General’s changes. Since the process wasn’t followed, the attorneys general contend that the changes are unlawful and should be stopped until further review.

The Postal Service is a vital service for communities throughout North Carolina. It serves as a lifeline for small, women-owned, and minority-owned businesses, rural North Carolinians, and veterans and senior citizens who receive most of their medications via the mail. Attorney General Stein has heard from North Carolinians across the state who have experienced mail delays in receiving needed prescriptions, necessary documents, and other essential mail.

Attorney General Josh Stein is joined in filing this motion by the Attorneys General of California, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Massachusetts, Maine, and Pennsylvania.

A copy of the motion is available here.