The lawsuit aims to hold the Postmaster General Louis DeJoy accountable for postal delays and risks to the right to vote by mail.
LANSING, MI — Attorney General Dana Nessel announced Tuesday afternoon a lawsuit against the United States Postal Service and Postmaster General Louis DeJoy.
Nessel will join attorneys general from Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin in the lawsuit.
“Recent actions taken by Mr. DeJoy are unlawful and indicate an attempt to disrupt and delay U.S. Postal Service operations,” Nessel said in a statement. “For more than 200 years, the postal service has been a fundamental part of the fabric of this country. People and businesses rely on it to deliver critical medications, correspondence and goods. We filed this lawsuit on behalf of the people of this state to ensure they can continue to depend on a system that is an integral part of our daily lives, our economic well-being and our democratic process.”
Since he took the position of Postmaster General, Louis DeJoy has implemented policies to cut costs for the agency including eliminating overtime. DeJoy, who is a major Republican fundraiser and former supply chain executive, has insisted these measures are necessary as part of shoring up the long-term ability of the post office in the current global pandemic.
But President Donald Trump, who appointed DeJoy as Postmaster, has seen the Postal Service as a piece in his larger feud with fellow billionaire Jeff Bezos, reports the New York Times. Trump has regularly expressed a dislike toward the Postal Service in general, but as COURIER reports, that intensified recently as his attempts to undermine mail-in voting have turned toward an effort to delegitimize the post office.
“They want $3.5 billion for the mail-in votes, universal mail-in ballots. They want $25 billion for the Post Office. They need that money in order to make the Post Office work so it can take all of these millions and millions of ballots,” Trump said on Fox Business. “But if they don’t get those two items that means you can’t have universal mail-in voting, because they’re not equipped to have it.”
That already has affected Michiganders. More than 10,000 votes in August’s primary election were not counted because they arrived after polls closed — an issue to which postal delays significantly contributed.
Trump’s efforts to delegitimize mail-in voting have also included a campaign of disinformation, advancing thoroughly debunked claims about security and legality. Michigan has relied heavily on mail-in voting in 2020 amid the global health crisis caused by the novel coronavirus, and has shattered turnout records in both May and August elections.
“General DeJoy never engaged in that process here,” the lawsuit states. “As a matter of substance, these changes will have a wide range of negative consequences that violate a diverse array of federal laws, from harming individuals with disabilities in violation of the Rehabilitation Act to disenfranchising voters in violation of the Constitution.”
And Michigan businesses, like the Etsy store run by Warren resident Lewis Haney, have suffered collateral damage from the President’s war on the Postal Service.
“So I run a mostly online business,” Haney told The ‘Gander. “The orders I shipped have tracking and they sit in pre-transit at the post office till July 27. My customers were pissed. I was confused [about] what was going on. I have a feeling it had something to do with the forced delay that was happening.”
The lawsuit, announced Tuesday afternoon, names Trump, DeJoy and the United States Postal Service as defendants.