US Judge Orders USPS to Treat All Election Mail as 'First Class Mail'

Following weeks of widely questioned decisions, a U.S. judge has ordered the USPS to treat all election mail as "First Class Mail." According to CNN, Judge Stanley Bastian — who serves at Eastern Washington's US District Court — states that the changes made over the past couple of months could harm the ability for voters to send in their ballots, which is "deliberately suppressive." Bastian has legally ordered Postmaster General Louis DeJoy to not make any further decisions that could negatively impact mail-in voting.

"Although not necessarily apparent on the surface, at the heart of DeJoy's and the Postal Service's actions is voter disenfranchisement," he wrote in his ruling. "This is evident in President Trump's highly partisan words and tweets, the actual impact of the changes on primary elections that resulted in uncounted ballots, and recent attempts and lawsuits by the Republican National Committee and President Trump's campaign to stop the States' efforts to bypass the Postal Service by utilizing ballot drop boxes, as well as the timing of the changes."

He continued: "It is easy to conclude that the recent Postal Services' changes is an intentional effort on the part of the current Administration to disrupt and challenge the legitimacy of upcoming local, state, and federal elections, especially given that 72% of the ... high-speed mail sorting machines that were decommissioned were located in counties where Hillary Clinton received the most votes in 2016."

Furthermore, Bastian's ruling states: "If any post office, distribution center, or other postal facilities will be unable to process election mail for the November 2020 election in accordance with First Class delivery standards because of the Postal Service's recent removal and decommissioning of equipment, such equipment will be replaced, reassembled, or reconnected to ensure that the Postal Service can comply with its prior policy delivering election mail in accordance with First Class delivery standards."

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DeJoy — who only became the Postmaster General in June — came under fire in August after making controversial changes to USPS facilities, which included decommissioning sorting machines and removing roadside drop boxes. The same month, DeJoy testified before a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and stated that his "number one priority" during elections this year is ensuring mail-in ballots are delivered. "As we head in the election season, I want to assure this committee and the American public that the Postal Service is fully capable and committed to delivering the nation’s election mail securely and on time."