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US states eye legal options in postal service dispute

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Aug 18, 2020 - 02:16 AM

WASHINGTON — Several US state attorney generals on Monday were weighing legal options to prevent disruptions to the nation’s postal service as President Donald Trump’s attacks on the agency heightened fears of election tampering.

Trump has repeatedly threatened the US Postal Service (USPS) in recent weeks after installing a new postmaster general in June, Republican fundraiser Louis DeJoy, who made changes that critics and union officials say have slowed mail delivery.

Opposition Democrats have accused the White House of trying to disrupt the November presidential election that is expected to see record numbers of Americans voting by mail due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

New York Attorney General Letitia James, a Democrat, said Trump’s moves were an “authoritarian power grab” in an effort to disenfranchise American voters and hold on to power.

“I, along with numerous other state attorneys general from around the nation, are now swiftly examining every legal option to protect the postal service and Americans’ right to vote absentee,” James said in a statement.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra on Monday also vowed to take action.

“California has sued the Trump Admin more than 95 times to protect our people. Protecting their right to vote and our very democracy won’t be any different,” he said on Twitter.

The Washington Post reported that attorney generals from Virginia, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Washington and North Carolina also were on the verge of suing to prevent modifications to postal operations that could impact the vote.

A union official told AFP that DeJoy has cut back on overtime, causing nationwide delays in the delivery of packages and letters.

House Oversight Committee Chair Carolyn B. Maloney said Monday that DeJoy had agreed to appear before her committee on August 24 to answer questions about the changes.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Sunday recalled the Democrat-controlled body from its summer recess to vote on an act “to save the Postal Service.” She called DeJoy a “complicit crony” in the effort to disrupt the mail and voting, also hurting Americans who rely on the mail for their medications.

Trump has recently attacked mail-in voting as being prone to fraud even though he himself votes by mail.

“The U.S. Post Office (System) has been failing for many decades. We simply want to MAKE THE POST OFFICE GREAT AGAIN, while at the same time saving billions of dollars a year for American Taxpayers,” Trump said on Twitter Monday.

He also questioned the use of ballot drop boxes, and late in the day adopted another message, tweeting “SAVE THE POST OFFICE!”

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