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Nevada joins lawsuit over U.S. Postal Service changes

CARSON CITY — Nevada joined a multi-state lawsuit filed Tuesday challenging recent changes made to the U.S. Postal Service that Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford said threaten mail delivery for Nevadans as the state prepares for an expanded mail-in general election this fall.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Washington state, comes amid an outcry over the removal of sorting and sequencing machines across the country and other changes to the agency including limiting workers’ overtime. The lawsuit names President Donald Trump and Postmaster General Louis DeJoy as defendants. Trump said last week that he wants to withhold additional funding for the post office due to his concerns about mail-in voting.

The Postal Service has removed a total of four mail-sorting machines from Las Vegas and Reno, Nevada’s two largest metro hubs, that will cause delays in the postmarking and mailing of elections ballots, according to the complaint.

Federal law requires the Postal Service to go through specific procedures before making changes that affect nationwide service, including a review by the Postal Regulatory Commission and a public comment period.

DeJoy, a Republican donor with no prior postal management experience, did not follow those procedures, the attorneys general said.

DeJoy announced Tuesday that he would suspend his initiatives until after the election after receiving pushback from both Democrats and Republicans. Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson, who is leading the lawsuit, said he plans to keep the lawsuit active to make sure the promises are kept.

The likely delays to mail-in ballots have received the most criticism, but Ford said that changes to the agency stretch further than just the November election.

“Our Postal Service mails prescription medications, Social Security and unemployment checks, and ballots, to name a few,” Ford said in a statement. “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.”

Under a law passed during a recent special session, election officials in Nevada will send mail-in ballots to all active voters for this fall’s election as part of the state’s plan to conduct the election amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Trump’s re-election campaign, the Republican National Committee and the Nevada Republican Party sued Nevada’s Republican Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske challenging the changes brought by that legislation, Assembly Bill 4.

Specifically, Trump and Republicans claimed that the expanded mail-in election would lead to increased fraud, despite there being virtually no credible evidence to back up those claims. Cegavske said in testimony on AB4 that that there were no known instances of fraud in Nevada’s mail-in primary.

In addition to Nevada and Washington, 11 other states were signed on to the federal lawsuit: Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Wisconsin.

Contact Capital Bureau Chief Colton Lochhead at clochhead@reviewjournal.com. Follow @ColtonLochhead on Twitter. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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