Columbus files brief supporting lawsuit against USPS

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Postal workers nationwide sounded the alarm earlier this summer on changes Postmaster General Louis DeJoy was making, including cutting overtime to limiting post office hours.

“All of this is happening on the eve of one of the biggest presidential elections in the middle of the pandemic where vote by mail is going to be even more important,” said Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein.

Many feared the changes could cause massive delays with millions of American expected to vote by mail this November due to the pandemic.

DeJoy hit pause on making more changes before election day, but the City of Columbus, along with 32 other local and tribal governments, are joining forces saying delaying change is not enough.

“Damage has already been done,” Klein said.

After the changes were made by DeJoy, several Attorney’s General filed a lawsuit against the USPS and now Columbus’ government is chiming in too.

“We filed a brief supporting attorney’s general across the country in making sure USPS follows its own rules because vote by mail is so important,” said Klein. “We want everyone who wants to vote to participate and know when they drop that ballot in the mail, there won’t be some behind the scenes malfeasance that slows their ballot from getting from their house to the board to elections so it can be counted on Election Day.”

Klein added now is not the time to take sides. 

“This isn’t a Democratic or Republican problem,” he said. “This isn’t an urban or rural problem. This is everyone’s problem.”

Klein says it is encouraging that the postmaster stopped what he’s calling “damages” but says it can’t stop there.

“Now, we need to reverse it,” he said. “Him putting pauses on the changes doesn’t address the damage that’s already been done but maybe the additional changes that were planned may not happen.”

Aaron Sellers with the Franklin Country Board of Elections says they have a great relationship with the USPS.

“We’re always working and reaching out to our local post office officials,” Sellers said. 

All of these concerns are another reason Sellers says it’s always good to vote early. 

“You can’t get time back and if you wait until the end, there is less time to remedy anything that may pop up and we want everyone to vote.”

Klein says this brief will hopefully get the attention of the judge as well as others possibly hindering the ability for everyone to cast their ballot.

“We’re all working together to protect that right to vote,” Klein said.

Another crucial member in this brief is the Public Rights Project.

“Messing with the Postal Service undercuts the ability of our local governments to serve those most in need,” said Jonathan Miller, legal director at Public Rights Project. “This goes well beyond the election and impacts access to medicine, delivery of test results, and crucial notices. It harms our communities in many, many ways.”

NBC4 reached out to the USPS and they had no comment. A spokesperson sent NBC4 this link with some recent facts regarding the USPS and its status.

The two briefs filed by Klein are below. App users, tap here and here to read them.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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