By Mark Scolforo, Associated Press
SACRAMENTO (CBS/AP) — Democratic attorneys general in California and five more states, as well as the District of Columbia sued the Postal Service on Friday over changes they say have undermined mail-in voting ahead of the November election.
The lawsuit was filed against Postmaster General Louis DeJoy just as he was answering questions about the policies at a U.S. Senate hearing in Washington. The other defendants are the Postal Service and the agency’s board chairman.
Agency leaders have interfered with how states conduct elections, “and thus violated plaintiffs’ constitutional authority to set the ‘Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives,'” the plaintiffs stated in the suit, quoting from the U.S. Constitution.
The complaint notes the Trump campaign and Republican entities have filed lawsuits against aspects of mail-in voting, and lists multiple tweets and other statements by President Donald Trump about mail-in voting that it described as “false and unsubstantiated statements.”
The Democratic attorneys general say the new policies were adopted without following federal law, asking to prevent them from being implemented. They also want a monitor appointed to oversee compliance with any court order.
The complaint led by Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro alleges that delays the policy changes have produced have already caused problems for people waiting for prescription drugs, money, food and other mail.
The postal delays, the lawsuit said, also make it harder for states to perform other governmental duties, including collecting revenue.
It says the postal agency “may disenfranchise voters because their ballots will not be sent or received in time and may deter people from voting because they do not trust that their ballot will be delivered.”
Voting by mail, greatly expanded in Pennsylvania under a law enacted in 2019, has grown throughout the country this year, driven by fears that in-person voting could needlessly expose people to the coronavirus.
The attorneys general who sued are in California, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C.
The case is similar to but slightly different than a federal suit filed Tuesday in Washington state that also included plaintiff states Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Wisconsin.
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