NEW YORK, N.Y. (WWNY) - New York Attorney General Letitia James said Monday that she is “swiftly examining every legal option to protect the postal service,” in the wake of reports of mail delays and concerns that this fall’s election could be affected.
In a statement, James said she is working with other states’ attorneys general “to protect our democracy and ensure every eligible voter has the opportunity to cast a ballot come November.”
“President Trump’s actions to interfere with the operations of the U.S. Postal Service in advance of the presidential election is deeply disturbing,” she said.
“It is an attempt at an authoritarian power grab in an effort to hold on to power, plain and simple.”
James’ comments came after President Trump’s appointee for Postmaster General, Louis DeJoy, cracked down on overtime, a move which postal workers said has led to delays in mail being delivered.
The Postal Service has also sought to eliminate hundreds of high speed mail sorting machines this month and has removed public collection boxes in several states, according to the Washington Post.
The Postal Service has warned most states they can’t count on it to guarantee all ballots cast by mail for the November election will arrive in time to be counted.
Democrats see these steps as efforts to cripple the post office and undermine voting by mail this November. President Trump and members of his administration say they’re simply trying to fix a part of government that doesn’t work very well and costs taxpayers billions of dollars.
“The things that President Trump says he’s doing aren’t making postal service better, it’s making it worse,” Senator Kirsten Gillibrand told reporters Monday.
Gillibrand supports $10 billion for the post office in the next stimulus bill - assuming there is one - and longer term, allowing the post office to go into the banking business, a move which she says would yield $9 billion in income for the postal service each year, while providing people in poor neighborhoods with a way to get basic banking services.
Gillibrand also supports eliminating a requirement that the Postal Service “pre-fund” its retirement liabilities - essentially, pay for the retirement of employees now working - 75 years in advance.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is calling members of congress back to Washington - an unheard of interruption to their August break - to address the postal crisis.
Gillibrand said Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell should bring the Senate back to Washington as well.
In addition, several individuals including candidates for public office are suing President Trump and Postmaster DeJoy to ensure adequate funding for postal operations.
The lawsuit was filed Monday in Manhattan federal court.
The lawsuit alleges that President Trump and DeJoy are trying to ensure the postal service cannot reliably deliver election mail.
The lawsuit seeks a court order to force adequate funding of the postal service prior to November’s election. A message seeking comment was left with the Justice Department.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)