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August 17, 2020 12:45 PM, EDT

New York Politicians, Voters Sue Trump Over USPS Funding

A USPS truck sits at a facility in Elkridge, Md., on Aug. 16.A USPS truck sits at a facility in Elkridge, Md., on Aug. 16. (Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg News)

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A group of voters and candidates for office in New York sued President Donald Trump and Postmaster General Louis DeJoy to ensure enough funding and staffing so that absentee and mail-in ballots are counted the same as in-person ballots.

“While President Trump himself is holding up necessary funding for the Post Office, a flurry of steps taken by DeJoy all but guarantee that thousands upon thousands (if not millions) of ballots will simply not reach their destinations on time, will likely lack postmarks that are required by state law, and that the volume of election mail that is coming may be delayed for weeks,” the plaintiffs said in a complaint filed Aug. 17 in federal court in Manhattan.

They seek an order ensuring that the U.S. Postal Service is adequately funded to fulfill its function and blocking the administration from taking steps that violate their rights.

The suit is the first of what may be a number of such claims against Trump and DeJoy as attorneys general weigh whether to bring their own case. And with Democrats accusing Trump of sabotaging the post office to cripple vote-by-mail efforts, Speaker Nancy Pelosi has suspended the House’s summer recess to take up related legislation. Without new legislation, it remains to be seen what a federal court can do.

Among the 16 plaintiffs are Mondaire Jones, an attorney and the Democratic nominee for New York’s 17th Congressional District, north of New York City, and Alessandra Biaggi, a New York State senator from the Bronx who is running for re-election in November.

They claim Trump and DeJoy have “set out to ensure USPS cannot reliably deliver election mail” because the president sees it as a threat to his re-election. The suit comes as record numbers of voters prepare to vote by mail because of the coronavirus pandemic, according to the plaintiffs, who say Trump and DeJoy’s actions violate their constitutional right to vote and to equal protection of the law.

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