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U.S. federal judge issues injunction against postal service changes

FILE – In this July 31, 2020, file photo, letter carriers load mail trucks for deliveries at a U.S. Postal Service facility in McLean, Va. A U.S. judge on Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020, blocked controversial Postal Service changes that have slowed mail nationwide. The judge called them “a politically motivated attack on the efficiency of the Postal Service” before the November election.

Kampala, Uganda | XINHUA |   A U.S. judge on Thursday blocked controversial Postal Service changes that have slowed mail delivery nationwide, calling them “a politically motivated attack on the efficiency of the Postal Service” before the presidential election.

Judge Stanley Bastian in Yakima, Washington state, said he was issuing a nationwide preliminary injunction sought by 14 states that sued the federal administration and the U.S. Postal Service.

According to the statement by Washington state’s Attorney General Bob Ferguson, the judge said his order would substantially follow the state’s motion.

Ferguson is leading a coalition of 14 states that filed a lawsuit over the changes to the Postal Service on Aug. 18. On Sept. 9, he filed the motion for a preliminary injunction, which Judge Bastian granted today.

In its motion for a preliminary injunction, Ferguson and the coalition of states asked the judge to order the Postal Service to Immediately stop its “leave mail behind” policy, where postal trucks are required to leave at specified times, regardless if there is mail still to be loaded.

According to Ferguson, the Postal Service is also required to continue its longstanding practice of treating all election mail as First Class mail, regardless of the paid postage, and to abide by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s public commitment to suspend the recent policy changes that have affected mail service until after the election.

“Today’s victory protects a critical institution for our country,” Ferguson said. “Americans can now confidently vote by mail and have their voices heard.”

“This is a huge victory for our election system and Americans’ access to the ballot box,” Washington Governor Jay Inslee said in the statement.

Ferguson argued in the statement that the changes at the Postal Service come as President Donald Trump continues to claim without evidence that widespread vote-by-mail will lead to a fraudulent election.

According to Ferguson, Washington state has allowed elections to be conducted completely by mail-in ballot since 2005 and mandated the practice statewide in 2011. The state has not experienced voter fraud at any significant level.

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