The U.S. Postmaster General announced Tuesday that he is suspending some recent operational changes until after the presidential election.
“To avoid even the appearance of any impact on election mail, I am suspending these initiatives until after the election is concluded,” U.S. Postal Service head Louis DeJoy said of the changes, which included removing mail processing equipment and collection boxes.
Additionally, he promised, USPS retail hours will not change, processing facilities will not be closed and overtime for postal workers will be approved as needed.
“The Postal Service is ready today to handle whatever volume of election mail it receives this fall,” DeJoy said. “Even with the challenges of keeping our employees and customers safe and healthy as they operate amid a pandemic, we will deliver the nation’s election mail on time and within our well-established service standards.”
The promise expands on one DeJoy made earlier this week to stop removing mailboxes for the next 90 days.
He did not say whether he would backtrack on changes that had already been implemented. Under DeJoy, a President Donald Trump appointee and a major donor to his campaign, the USPS recently began removing mailboxes in some communities because of “declining mail volume.” The USPS recently warned 46 states that it might not be able to deliver all mail-in ballots in time to be counted.
But people are expected to vote by mail this November in high numbers because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Despite that, Trump has spent the last few months falsely attacking mail-in voting as fraudulent and suggested he opposes additional funding for the department.
“There is NO WAY (ZERO!) that Mail-In Ballots will be anything less than substantially fraudulent,” Trump has tweeted, though no evidence supports his claims. “Mail boxes will be robbed, ballots will be forged & even illegally printed out & fraudulently signed.”
Critics say this is a thinly veiled effort to suppress the vote in the lead-up to the Nov. 3 election, which polls show his opponent Joe Biden has a good chance of winning. His attacks on the democratic process and DeJoy’s removal of mailboxes have inspired protests around the country, including a “noise demonstration” outside DeJoy’s house last weekend.