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21 attorneys general oppose USPS plan to delay first-class mail, warning 4- to 5-day delivery times could have 'significant' impact on mail-in ballots

Business Insider logo Business Insider 21/06/2021 cdavis@insider.com (Charles Davis)
a man riding on the back of a truck: A USPS worker on August 13, 2020, in Ventnor City, New Jersey. Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images © Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images A USPS worker on August 13, 2020, in Ventnor City, New Jersey. Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images
  • Attorneys general from 21 states issued a statement opposing proposed changes at the Postal Service.
  • Postmaster General Louis DeJoy has proposed delaying some first-class mail deliveries.
  • Instead of two to three days, some mail would be delivered in a four- to five-day window.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Twenty-one state attorneys general argued in a joint statement on Monday that delaying first-class mail delivery by as many as two days would harm rural communities and could disenfranchise those who cast absentee ballots.

In March, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, who was appointed by President Donald Trump, unveiled a plan to raise prices and slash services at the US Postal Service, citing a need to address a revenue shortfall, The Washington Post reported.

In particular, DeJoy outlined a proposal to slow down the delivery of first-class mail. Instead of two to three days, nonlocal mail could take as many as five days to reach its destination.

The attorneys general say that reflects a "flawed philosophy that would prioritize the services it offers in competitive markets," such as package delivery, "over those that it alone provides and on which countless Americans depend." The comments come in a letter addressing the Postal Regulatory Commission, an independent agency responsible for ensuring that USPS abides by the law.

Signatories, all Democrats - and also including city attorneys for San Francisco and New York - maintain that delaying mail delivery would violate USPS' statutory duty to provide "regular and effective" access to postal services for rural communities.

They also warn any additional delays to first-class mail delivery could further complicate mail-in voting, "frustrating the states' ability to administer their elections and potentially resulting in voter disenfranchisement."

Democrats have lambasted DeJoy's efforts to cut back on USPS services, with the postmaster general facing repeated calls for his resignation. DeJoy slashed the Postal Service's mail-processing capacity ahead of the 2020 election, prompting concerns that mail-in ballots would not be delivered on time.

Democrats were until recently limited in their ability to remove DeJoy. In February, however, President Joe Biden nominated three people to the Postal Service's governing board. Their terms began June 15, giving the board's liberal bloc a narrow majority.

DeJoy is facing an FBI investigation over whether he committed campaign-finance violations while a GOP donor. He denies any wrongdoing.

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