August 18, 2020
Severe operational cuts
could restrict Postal Service on the eve of a national election
Carson City, NV – Today, Nevada Attorney
General Aaron D. Ford joined a multistate coalition that will file a federal
lawsuit challenging drastic operational changes to the U.S. Postal Service.
These changes threaten critical mail delivery for all Nevadans.
Postal Service cuts, including eliminating staff overtime, altering operations
at state distribution centers and removing critical mail sorting equipment,
threaten the timely delivery of mail to individuals who rely on the Postal
Service for everything from medical prescriptions, social security checks, to
many Nevada businesses, from large distribution companies to small, home-based
businesses, the Postal Service is a critical part of their business model to
deliver goods purchased by consumers across the country. During the pandemic,
online shopping has skyrocketed. Preventing consumers from receiving their
purchases in a timely manner will impede Nevada’s economic growth at a time
when we need it most.
Postal Service also recently notified states that it will end its longstanding
practice of processing ballots as first-class mail — regardless of what type of
postage is used. States and counties that use marketing or bulk-rate postage
for their ballots could experience delays.
Postal Service mails prescription medications, social security and unemployment
checks, and ballots, to name a few,” said AG Ford. “Attempting to cut
their budget at a time when Americans need these critical services the most is
both unlawful and unprecedented. Nevadans can rest assured that I won’t
tolerate these reckless changes.”
Postal Service Changes:
changes at the Postal Service instituted by Trump-appointed Postmaster General
Louis DeJoy have already resulted in mail delays, Congressional leaders argue.
These changes include eliminating staff overtime, changing the way mail is
sorted and requiring late-arriving mail to be left for delivery the following
Postal Service has also announced plans to stop processing outgoing mail at
some state mail distribution centers. This would disproportionately impact
rural communities, often significantly increasing the distance mail must
travel. For example, mail sent from one address to another in the same town
would have to travel all the way to one of the remaining distribution centers
and back again before being delivered.
Nevadans have been able to vote by mail for many years. Due to the COVID-19
pandemic, the Nevada State Legislature passed a bill to mail ballots to all
active, registered voters. Nevadans are counting on the Postal Service to
deliver their ballot to their homes in a timely manner.
Trump stated last week that the service cuts at the Postal Service have a
partisan motive: “They need that money in order to make the Post Office work so
it can take all of these millions and millions of ballots. They don’t have the
money to do the universal mail-in voting. So therefore, they can’t do it, I
Impacts on Seniors and Veterans:
Service cuts threaten timely mail deliveries for a range of important services,
from prescriptions to utility bills. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many
Americans, especially seniors and other high risk individuals, to rely
increasingly on mail delivery services while they stay at home for their
health. In general, seniors rely heavily on the mail to receive essentials like
medications, Social Security benefits and even groceries.
policy changes have already impacted our country’s veterans, who are reporting
much longer wait times to receive mail-order prescription drugs. The U.S.
Department of Veteran Affairs (VA), which provides broad health care services
to veterans nationwide, fills about 80 percent of veteran prescriptions by
mail. The VA processes about 120 million mail-order prescriptions per year —
470,000 a day. The Postal Service makes daily prescription deliveries to
330,000 veterans across the country.
states will assert that the Postal Service has acted outside of its authority
to implement changes to the postal system and did not follow the proper
procedures under federal law. The law requires that changes at the U.S. Postal
Service that cause a nationwide impact in mail service must be submitted to the
Postal Regulatory Commission. The Commission then evaluates the proposal
through a procedure that includes public notice and comment. The federal
government’s failure to perform this mandatory duty deprived the states of
their statutory right to notice and comment on USPS’ nationwide service
states’ lawsuit will seek to block the unlawful service reductions and
operational changes at the Postal Service.
addition to Nevada, attorneys general from the following states joined the coalition:
Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland,
Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia,
Washington and Wisconsin.