U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero in Manhattan ordered the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) to treat all election mail, to the extent possible, as first-class or priority express mail. Then the judge went further. He ordered the postal service, which is losing billions of dollars, to pre-approve all overtime that has been or will be requested for the 10 days around the election.
Judge Marrero wrote:
“Multiple managerial failures have undermined the postal employees’ ability to fulfill their vital mission.”
He would be correct of course, if he were referring to Congress, which as left the service hamstrung for years with a bloated system and no control over its pricing.
Marrero’s ruling comes after U.S. District Judge Stanley Bastian in Yakima, Washington, last week said he was issuing a nationwide injunction that would stop Postmaster General Louis DeJoy from instituting changes that have been ordered since July.
One of the changes Bastian stopped is the policy that had carriers leave mail behind if it wasn’t sorted by the time the mail trucks were scheduled to leave. That change meant that some mail took longer to arrive.
U.S. Postal Service spokesman Dave Partenheimer said:
“Our number one priority is to deliver election mail on time.”
Marrero didn’t address the bigger issue at hand: If election officials don’t send ballots out until just days before the election, and if they allow voters to send in their ballots on the day of the election, then no “order” from a judge is going to make a difference.