Postal Service backs down on changes as at least 20 states sue over potential mail delays ahead of election
(CNN) -- Embattled Postmaster General Louis DeJoy reversed course Tuesday, saying that all changes being made to the Postal Service would be suspended until after the November 3 election, just as 20 Democratic states announced plans to file federal lawsuits.
DeJoy said that some of the deferred decisions mean that retail hours at post offices will not change, mail processing equipment and blue collection boxes will remain in place and no mail processing facilities will be closed.
At least 20 Democratic attorneys general across the country are launching a multi-pronged legal effort to push back on the recent changes that disrupted mail delivery across the country and triggered accusations that Trump and his appointees are trying to undermine mail-in voting.
The Democratic attorneys general plan to argue that DeJoy is illegally changing mail procedures ahead of the 2020 election as the Post Office braces for an unusually high number of mail-in ballots as voters look to avoid casting ballots at polling centers where they could potentially contract the coronavirus.
DeJoy "acted outside of his authority to implement changes to the postal system, and did not follow the proper procedures under federal law," according to a statement from Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson.
The USPS and DeJoy have maintained that the changes are intended to improve the agency's dire financial situation. DeJoy also rejects accusations that he made these changes at Trump's behest.
At least two lawsuits are being filed Tuesday. One led by Washington state will be joined by Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Wisconsin.
Another group of state Democratic attorneys general are filing a similar lawsuit in a Pennsylvania federal court. These states include California, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Delaware, Maine and North Carolina.
The Postal Service is also facing intense scrutiny from congressional Democrats, who announced earlier this week that they're ramping up their probe into what they call "recent, sweeping and dangerous operational changes at the Postal Service that are slowing the mail and jeopardizing the integrity of the election."
DeJoy is set to testify before a Senate committee on Friday and the House Oversight Committee next week.
Trump and other Republicans have been railing against mail-in voting, baselessly asserting that it will lead to voter fraud, with the President saying last week that he opposes much-needed funding for the United States Postal Service because he doesn't want to see it used for mail-in voting this November.
There is not widespread voter fraud in US elections, and nonpartisan experts say neither party automatically benefits when states expand access to mail-in voting.
This story has been updated.
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