(Source: www.telegramnews.net) – Pallets filled with mail-in ballots cram an unloading area at a U.S. Postal Service processing and distribution center.
The United States Postal Service has reached an agreement with the NAACP on a lawsuit related to mail-in ballots for the 2020 presidential election.
The civil rights organization filed the lawsuit last year over mail delays affecting election ballots, NBC News reports. In August 2020, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) warned state election officials that the agency would not be able to fulfill requests for mail-in ballots before the Nov. 3 presidential election, theGrio reported.
The letters were reportedly sent to 40 states by USPS general counsel and executive vice president Thomas Marshall. It warned that state deadlines to request, return and count ballots would be impacted by the “inconsistencies” with its delivery service, The Hill reports. The implication was expected to affect tens of millions of Americans eligible to vote by mail. Their ballots were likely discarded because of delays in delivery.
The NAACP filed its lawsuit in August 2020, two months after then-President Donald Trump appointed Republican donor Louis DeJoy as postmaster general, and he announced plans for a massive overhaul to the Postal Service.
“The need for the U.S. Postal Service to transform to meet the needs of our customers is long overdue,” DeJoy said in a presentation of the plan online, noting that USPS stands to lose $160 billion over the next decade, NBC News reported.
“The Postal Service’s problems are serious, but working together, they can be solved,” he said. “Our 10-year Plan capitalizes on our natural strengths and addresses our serious weaknesses.”
Under the settlement, the USPS agreed to take “extraordinary measures” to deliver ballots for the 2022 midterm elections, similar to the policies and practices used during the November 2020 general election that was heavily criticized.
“Consistent with the Postal Service’s steadfast commitment to fulfilling our vital role in the nation’s electoral process, we agreed to continue to prioritize monitoring and timely delivery of Election Mail for future elections,” Marshall, the USPS general counsel said in a statement. “This will include outreach and coordination with election officials and election stakeholders, including the NAACP.”
The Postal Service also agreed to publicly post mail-in ballot guidance between 2024 and 2028, which outlines its “good faith efforts to prioritize monitoring and timely delivery” during general elections, per the report.
As part of the agreement, the Postal Service will meet with NAACP officials before national primary and general elections through 2028,” and provide weekly reports on service performance in the six weeks leading up to an election,” writes NBC News.
“With the NAACP’s ability to now monitor the performance of the USPS during national elections, we will ensure that the right to vote is protected for all of citizens, including those often suppressed,” NAACP national president Derrick Johnson said in a statement following the settlement.
The Justice Department is “pleased we could facilitate a resolution that reflects the commitment of all of the parties to appropriately handling and prioritizing election mail,” said Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta in a statement.
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