Friday, October 16, 2020

Postal Service agrees in Montana federal court settlement to reverse nationwide changes that slowed mail service

"The U.S. Postal Service agreed Wednesday to reverse changes that slowed mail service nationwide, settling a lawsuit filed by Montana Gov. Steve Bullock during a pandemic that is expected to force many more people to vote by mail," Iris Samuels reports for The Associated Press. "The Postal Service agreed to reverse all changes, which included reduced retail hours, removal of collection boxes and mail sorting machines, closure or consolidation of mail processing facilities, restriction of late or extra trips for timely mail delivery, and banning or restricting overtime."

The agreement, which requires the Postal Service to prioritize election mail, applies to all states. "The settlement agreement was reached a day ahead of a hearing in the U.S. District Court," Samuels reports. 

Bullock sued the service and Postmaster General Louis DeJoy Sept. 9, arguing that changes made in June decreased access to mail services in Montana. That not only made it harder for Montanans to vote by mail, he alleged, but also delayed delivery of job applications, payments, medical prescriptions, and more.

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