During the early summer and fall of 2020, DeJoy shut down mail sorting machines, removed postal boxes, and barred carriers from making extra trips to ensure that all the mail was delivered on time. DeJoy did not clear those changes with the PRC as required. “The evidence demonstrates that [the states and localities] suffered harm by impeding their ability to combat the spread of COVID-19, impeding their ability to provide safe alternatives to in-person voting,” Sullivan found. DeJoy’s changes also created extra costs and administrative burdens for the state and local governments in having to create those alternatives, the judge found.
“Although the simultaneous implementation of multiple policy changes in June and July 2020 contributed to the decline in mail service and the overall confusion by postal workers, the record evidence demonstrates that changes to and impacts on the USPS transportation schedule regarding late and extra trips were the primary factor in affecting service on a nationwide or substantially nationwide basis,” Sullivan wrote.
Sullivan did not find a violation of federal elections laws in DeJoy’s slowdowns, however. “Though the implementation of the Postal Policy Changes contributed to the delay in mail deliveries nationwide, which in turn risked a delay in the delivery of mail-in ballots during an election season, USPS’s actions do not amount to voting regulations that override the States’ existing regulations,” Sullivan wrote. He did block DeJoy from unilaterally making big alterations to the service again, however.
As if that would stop DeJoy. The surest way to prevent him from interfering in any more elections is to fire him. The Postal Regulatory Commission doesn’t seem to be particularly interested in restraining him, nor does the service’s Board of Governors. The PRC dismissed a complaint brought by 20 state attorneys general last fall over DeJoy’s 10-year plan to make mail delivery slower and more expensive. The Board of Governors is going along with it, too, despite the fact that it’s directly harming all of the people who rely on timely, efficient mail delivery to pay their bills, get those checks, and generally conduct business.
There’s another easy opportunity for President Joe Biden to finally end DeJoy’s destruction of the Postal Service right now. The terms of the last two big DeJoy champions on the Board of Governors—Democrat Donal Lee Moak and Republican William Zollars—expire in December. The way the Board works allows them to stay on for another year without being renominated, but Biden can’t let that happen.
The Save the Post Office Coalition, along with 83 separate public interest groups, are on top of the situation. They wrote to Biden in August, calling him to nominate new candidates “who will hold the current Postmaster General Louis DeJoy accountable for his destructive leadership and advocate strongly for the expansion of USPS services.”
“Now is the time for a Board that will invest in building the Postal Service of the future,” their letter concludes, which means creating a Board that “will push the USPS to look at its long-term financial health and build a union-built electric postal fleet that will be better for the planet, for mail carriers, and for frontline communities.”
Last year, Biden ousted DeJoy’s biggest cheerleader, Democrat Ron Bloom, when his term ended. That made the grassroots giddy with anticipation that, finally, DeJoy’s days were numbered. We celebrated too soon.
Porter McConnell, co-founder of the Save the Post Office coalition, told The Prospect’s David Dayen, “I know the grassroots is still very pissed about DeJoy and doesn’t understand why he’s there.” She added, “[The administration] could decide to take the political win. Or decline to do so for reasons unknown.”
This time, however, Biden has got to get it done. It’s the third most popular thing he could do with the grassroots after student loan forgiveness and pardons for federal weed convictions. He did those. Now it’s time he saves the post office and nominates two new members who will get the job done. It’s a slam dunk, and now would be a great time to make the announcement, with DeJoy’s holiday price hikes pissing everybody off.
The lame-duck session of the Senate would be a great time for the confirmation of the two Board nominees who will finally vote to get rid of DeJoy. It also wouldn’t hurt to announce those nominees now, before people vote on senators, so they can factor saving the post office into their votes. It’s not the biggest campaign issue, but it sure as hell would be motivating for the grassroots.