Aug. 25 (UPI) -- New York Attorney General Letitia James announced a federal lawsuit Tuesday seeking to block policy changes by the U.S. Postal Service ahead of the November election.
Hawaii, New Jersey, New York City, and the City and County of San Francisco also joined the suit which asks a judge to block the recent policy changes by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, declare the changes unconstitutional and prevent any further changes without insight from the Postal Regulatory Commission.
"The USPS slowdown is nothing more than a voter suppression tactic," James said in a statement. "Yet, this time, these authoritarian actions are not only jeopardizing our democracy and fundamental right to vote but the immediate health and financial well-being of Americans across the nation."
The lawsuit says USPS has eliminated or "substantially altered" multiple operational policies and practices that were "mission-critical to the timely delivery of mail."
"Specifically, the U.S. Postal Service removed hundreds of collection boxes and high-speed sorting machines; cut or curtailed overtime; prohibited needed late trips and extra trips; and began a pilot program in almost 400 localities that turned how the agency processes mail on its head," the suit states.
It further states that DeJoy testified before Congress last week that he had "no intention" of returning the removed collection boxes or sorting equipment, reversing the prohibition of late or extra trips or providing more overtime.
The suit alleges that the policy changes already instituted were beyond the agency's authority under federal law and the Constitution, adding that USPS must go through the Postal Regulatory Commission before making changes to policies or operations.
"Specifically, 'when the Postal Service determines that there should be a change in the nature of postal services which will generally affect service on a nationwide or substantially nationwide bases, it shall submit a proposal, within a reasonable time prior to the effective date of such a proposal to the Postal Regulatory Commission requesting an advisory opinion on the change,'" the suit states.
Pennsylvania and Washington have also filed similar lawsuits seeking to block the changes to the USPS.