Resource: Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, State of California, State of Delware, District of Columbia, State of Maine, Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and State of North Carolina v. Louis DeJoy and the United States Postal Service

By: COVID-Related Election Litigation Tracker

October 7, 2020

Stanford-MIT Healthy Elections Project

Plaintiffs PA, CA, DE, DC, ME, MA, and NC bring suit against DeJoy, Duncan (chairman of the Postal Service Board of Governors), and USPS challenging recent changes to USPS policies resulting in delay of the mail with impacts on the election. Under the Postal Reorganization Act, USPS is required to meet certain mail delivery standards and is further required to seek an advisory opinion requiring a hearing and opportunity for comment from the Postal Regulatory Comission prior to instituting any changes which impact national service. The changes specifically challenged include 1) prohibing late or extra trips by postal workers 2) requiring carriers to adhere to rigid start and stop times 3) limiting the use of overtime 4) no longer treating election mail as first class mail automatically and 5) no longer deliverying first class mail regardless of whether or not it has sufficient postage. The States allege harms to their sovereign, quasi-sovereign and proprietary interests in administering electoins, not having to devote significant additional resources to administering elections and conducting government functions including the operation of the state civil and criminal judicial systems. The States assert four causes of action. 1) violation of the Postal Reorganization Act by failing to follow the procedural requirements before instituting changes 2) violation of the Postal Reorganization Act by failing to satisfy the mail standards for delivery under the act due to changes 3) violations of the States' rights under the elections and elector clauses by undermining the States' ability to regulate elections under both clauses and 4) a violation of the 26th amendment caused by the fact that changes to USPS delivery standards resulting in a diminished ability to vote by mail will most impact older voters who are most likely to vote by mail.