On Wednesday, the U.S. Postal Service reportedly agreed to reverse the changes that slowed the mail service nationwide by settling a lawsuit filed by Montana Gov. Steve Bullock amidst the coronavirus pandemic that would force many more people to vote by mail.
The lawsuit that was filed against Postmaster General Louis DeJoy and the U.S. Postal Service on 9th September had argued changes being implemented in June that harmed access to the mail services in Montana that had delayed the delivery of medical prescriptions, payments, and job applications, thereby impeding the ability of the Montana residents to vote by mail.
The postal service has finally agreed to reverse all the changes made that include reduced retail hours, removal of the collection boxes, and mail sorting machines, closure or consolidation of the mail processing facilities, restriction of late or extra trips for timely mail delivery, and banning or restricting overtime.
The agreement further requires the Postal Service to prioritize the election mail.
The settlement agreement reached a day ahead of a hearing in the U.S. District Court in Great Falls and applies to all the states.
Bullock said in a statement that Montanans never gave up this fight due to which they are now ensuring stability through and beyond the election by immediately restoring all the mail services, the folks rely on, whether it’s receiving the vital medication or ensuring that they can pay their bills on time.
However, a spokesperson for the U.S. Postal Service did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.
To limit the spread of the coronavirus, many more voters are now expected to vote by mail this November. The majority of the Montana countries are now holding elections by mail after a directive forwarded by Bullock permitted them to do so to limit the spread of the coronavirus. Bullock is now running for a seat in the U.S. Senate.
The agreement came out after a federal judge had temporarily blocked the controversial Postal Service changes on September 17, after having called the changes as a politically motivated attack on the efficiency of the Postal Service, before the November election.
In Yakima, Washington, judge Stanley Bastian had issued the nationwide preliminary injunction sought by fourteen states that brought forward a separate suit against the Trump administration and the U.S. Postal Service.
The fourteen states that were being led by the Democratic attorneys general, expressed concern that the delays might result in the voters to not receive the ballots or registration firms on time.
Following a national uproar last month, DeJoy, a major donor to President Donald Trump and the GOP had announced that he was suspending some of the changes that include the removal of the mail collection boxes, but the other changes remained intact.
Glenda Bozeman – Business and Services
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