October 27: Emergency Order Approved
As Coloradans were still mailing in their ballots, Voces Unidas and other plaintiffs filed for an emergency order to enforce the original injunction against the U.S. Postal Service because we were concerned that the post office was still causing delays in election mail.
On October 27, Judge Emmet Sullivan of the District Court for the District of Columbia released a detailed order for Postmaster General Louis DeJoy to communicate to all USPS workers that late and extra mail delivery trips must be approved to the maximum extent necessary in order to increase on-time mail deliveries. Judge Sullivan further instituted significant daily monitoring of the agency’s compliance to ensure that mail is being sorted and delivered multiple times a day -- particularly election mail.
Judge approves Voces Unidas' request for a preliminary injunction against the USPS
On Sept. 28, 2020, Judge Sullivan granted our motion for a preliminary injunction. He has barred the Postal Service from implementing its policy reducing late and extra trips.
"This is an important victory in our fight to ensure that the Postal Service remains a reliable and efficient way for us to reach voters," said Alex Sánchez, Executive Director of Voces Unidas de las Montañas. "There is too much at stake in this election, with voters in Colorado set to receive their mail-in ballots starting on October 9th. Today's ruling will help us ensure that rural communities trust that their voice will be heard in the election this fall."
“The rural communities Voces Unidas serves in Colorado rely heavily on the U.S. Postal Service for both everyday communication and to exercise their right to vote. The delays caused by USPS's policies have undermined these communities' trust in USPS and forced us to expend our limited resources on a campaign to regain the communities' trust in the postal service and our electoral system."
Alex Sánchez, Executive Director, Voces Unidas
The plaintiffs, Voces Unidas de las Montañas, Vote Forward, Colorado Organization for Latina Reproductive Rights and Padres y Jovenes Unidos are working to get out the vote in states that have mail-in ballot application or receipt deadlines that pose challenges to ballots being counted if the mail is systematically delayed by a few days. Aaron Carrel, a voter from Wisconsin, is also a plaintiff.
Claims in the Case
The principal changes this suit focuses on are the new ban on postal workers making late trips and Postmaster General DeJoy's refusal to restore sorting machines that have been decommissioned and destroyed.
These changes, compounded by the pandemic, the anticipated volume of election mail, and DeJoy's other policies, threaten to result in a piece of mail being delayed at least three days, a delay that could severely prejudice voters who vote by mail close to the election.
Defendants will be Postmaster General DeJoy and the USPS. The case was filed in federal court in the District of Washington, DC.
The case alleges a constitutional claim that the policy changes result in an unconstitutional burden on the fundamental right to vote and statutory claims under 39 U.S.C. § 3661. These claims will address both:
(1) the fact that the policy changes result in an incremental delay in the delivery of mail ballots, and that this delay constitutes a substantial burden on the right to vote during a pandemic; and
(2) the fact that the USPS's policy changes have been implemented without going through the appropriate procedures mandated by § 3661, in particular, review by the Postal Regulatory Commission.
The lawsuit seeks a narrow remedy that would get the Postal Service to return service back to its normal pace ahead of the election this November and appoint an independent monitor to oversee service.
About Our National Partner
The National Redistricting Foundation is the 501(c)(3) affiliate of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, and was formed in 2017 to engage in work that protects voting rights and challenges gerrymandered congressional and state legislative districts. The National Redistricting Foundation has funded and executed lawsuits that include, but are not limited to, overturning gerrymandered congressional and state legislative maps in North Carolina, successfully challenging the Trump Administration’s attempt to add a citizenship question to the Census, and protecting Wisconsin voters from former Governor Scott Walker’s refusal to call special elections and attacks on early voting.