The U.S. Postal Service agreed Wednesday to reverse dramatic changes to mail operations imposed in recent months by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, settling a lawsuit filed by Montana's Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock seeking to ensure that mail services throughout the country—including the timely delivery of ballots and medicines—would be fully functional amid a pandemic that has increased the demand for mail-in voting.
The lawsuit filed against DeJoy and the USPS on September 9 "argued changes implemented in June harmed access to mail services in Montana, resulting in delayed delivery of medical prescriptions, payments, and job applications, and impeding the ability of Montana residents to vote by mail," the Associated Press reported Thursday.
After I filed a lawsuit, Postmaster General DeJoy has agreed to reverse the changes that were harmful to Montanans’ access to the post office. Montanans never gave up this fight, and as a result, we are ensuring mail services will be immediately restored. https://t.co/h5sYDOKpTg
— Steve Bullock (@GovernorBullock) October 15, 2020
USPS agreed to reverse all changes, which entailed various forms of sabotage including reduced hours and restricted overtime, closure of processing facilities, and removal of sorting machines as well as collection boxes, as Common Dreams has reported.
According to AP, the agreement also requires USPS to prioritize election mail in the crucial coming weeks, and the restoration of services applies nationwide.
Wednesday's agreement comes after two federal judges in September temporarily halted DeJoy's policy changes, largely granting a request made by 14 states for a court order blocking the postmaster general's actions.
As Common Dreams reported last month, Judge Stanley Bastian of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington described DeJoy's efforts as a "politically motivated attack" on the USPS that was part of "an intentional effort" by the Trump administration to "disrupt and challenge the legitimacy of upcoming local, state, and federal elections."
Since "72% of the decommissioned high-speed mail sorting machines... were located in counties where Hillary Clinton received the most votes in 2016," Bastian argued that the White House was engaging in targeted "voter disenfranchisement."