Federal judge temporarily blocks U.S. Postal Service changes

A United States Postal Service (USPS) worker handles the mail in a drop-off box behind a post office in Oak Park, Michigan, U.S. August 17, 2020.

Rebecca Cook | Reuters

A federal judge on Thursday temporarily blocked the United States Postal Service from making operational changes that states say threaten the timely delivery of election mail.

Stanley Bastian, chief judge for the Eastern District of Washington state, said he was issuing a preliminary injunction in a case brought by 14 states over July changes to the postal service.

Substantial evidence has been presented that the changes have made mail delivery “slower and less efficient,” the judge said on a hearing by telephone.

The judge noted that the states said the changes were done in an attempt to use the postal service for political purposes ahead of the November presidential election.

“The allegations coupled with the evidence presented demonstrates a likelihood of success on the merits,” the judge said. “Harm has already taken place. Delivery of mail is being slowed down, which likely will slow down delivery of ballots.”

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