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Attorney General Donovan Sues to Protect U.S. Postal Service

August 18, 2020

Contact: Charity R. Clark, Chief of Staff, 802-828-3171

Attorney General T.J. Donovan today joined a multistate coalition in filing a federal lawsuit challenging planned operational changes at the U.S. Postal Service. The Postal Service’s sudden and unilateral changes deprived states of their procedural right to comment on such changes before implementation. The coalition argues that cuts at the Postal Service that impact mail service nationwide—eliminating staff overtime, altering operations at state distribution centers, and removing mail sorting equipment—cannot be lawfully implemented without a public notice and comment period.

“Vermonters rely on the Postal Service for timely access to their mail and prescription medications, and mail-in ballots,” said Attorney General Donovan. “More than one hundred thousand Vermonters requested mail-in ballots for last week’s primary election, and we need our Postal Service fully operational for the general election. I will continue to push back on any of the federal government’s attempts to threaten critical mail delivery, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“Undermining the Postal Service during a pandemic will suppress the voting rights of American voters, and is a disgrace to democracy,” said Secretary of State Jim Condos. “During any election year, and especially during a pandemic when voters are increasingly turning to mail voting as a safe and secure way to exercise their sacred franchise, we rely on the important role the Postal Service performs in our democratic process. Voters should not need to choose between their health and their right to vote.”

            Today’s lawsuit asserts that the Postal Service acted outside of its authority to implement these changes to the postal system, and did not follow the proper procedures required by federal law. Any changes at the Postal Service that have a nationwide impact on mail service must be submitted to the Postal Regulatory Commission. The Commission then evaluates the proposal through a procedure that includes public notice and comment.

The complaint asserts that the Postal Service’s sudden and unilateral changes to the nature of postal services deprived the States of their procedural right to comment on such changes prior to implementation as established by federal law.

Joining Attorney General Donovan in today’s lawsuit are the attorneys general of Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.

A copy of the lawsuit can be found here.