A young girl helps her mother deposit her ballot in a drop box for the 2020 general election at the Los Angeles County Registrar in 2020. On Thursday, the United States Postal Service and NAACP reached a settlement over mail delays during the 2020 election. File photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo
Dec. 18 (UPI) -- The U.S. Postal Service said Friday it had settled with NAACP over mail delays that the civil rights group alleged were intended to influence the 2020 election outcome.
The settlement stems from a lawsuit brought last year by the NAACP alleging that the Postal Service wasn't doing enough to address delivery delays when large swaths of the country were relying on mail to turn in ballots during the 2020 election.
As part of the settlement, the Postal Service agreed to meet with NAACP in the months before each national primary and general election through 2028.
The Postal Service also will provide weekly reports on service performance during the six weeks leading up to general elections. And, the Postal Service will post official guidance related to election mail on its website.
Derrick Johnson, President and CEO of the NAACP, said in a statement that the agreement will protect the right to vote for all citizens, "including those often suppressed." He called the agreement an "unprecedented victory for civil rights."
"When we fight, we win. Ballot box or mailbox, a vote is a vote, and each vote is sacred," he said. "No one, including the USPS, should ever stand in the way of our constitutional rights."
The Postal Service confirmed it had reached an agreement with the NAACP to dismiss the lawsuit, but added: "Consistent with the Postal Service's steadfast commitment to fulfilling our vital role in the nation's electoral process, we agreed to continue to prioritize monitoring and timely delivery of election mail for future elections.
This will include outreach and coordination with election officials and election stakeholders, including the NAACP. The Postal Service continues to believe that none of the election mail lawsuits were justified by the facts or supported by the applicable law."
Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta also issued a statement welcoming the settlement saying it "reflects the commitment of all of the parties to appropriately handling and prioritizing election mail."
The lawsuit targeted Louis DeJoy, the postmaster general installed by former President Donald Trump. During the 2020 election, DeJoy faced scrutiny over cost-cutting measures critics that worried would slow the delivery of mail-in ballots.
Over the summer, it was revealed the FBI was investigating DeJoy over an alleged private sector campaign finance scheme.
This story has been updated to include comment from the U.S. Postal Service.