USPS Stands by Colorado-Ballot Notices That Judge Deemed ‘False’

September 15, 2020by Erik Larson, Bloomberg News (TNS)
U.S. Postal Service Postmaster General Louis DeJoy testifies at a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing in the Rayburn House Office Building on Aug. 24, 2020 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The committee is holding a hearing on "Protecting the Timely Delivery of Mail, Medicine, and Mail-in Ballots." (Tom Brenner/Pool/Getty Images/TNS)

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Postal Service said a judge acted too late when he ordered the agency over the weekend to stop sending notices to Colorado residents about requesting mail-in ballots that state officials claim are misleading. Most of the post cards have been sent already, the USPS said.

U.S. District Judge William Martinez on Saturday granted an emergency request from Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold, a Democrat, for a restraining order forcing the USPS and Postmaster General Louis DeJoy to halt mailings that urge voters to request mail-in ballots in the state. The mass-mailing would confuse voters because the state already automatically mails ballots, the judge ruled, saying he was “deeply troubled” by the “false or misleading information” in the USPS notices.

But the USPS, which is sending out 137 million of the notices nationwide, asked the judge in a filing late Sunday to immediately reconsider his ruling, which the agency said shouldn’t have been issued. The Postal Service also said the notices are accurate because they direct voters to check state rules.

“It appears that the court relied on plaintiffs’ secondhand understanding about the status of delivery of the postcards — namely, that the postcards could be easily separated and had not yet been mailed,” the USPS said. “Most Colorado voters have received the postcards.”

The USPS asked the judge to expedite reconsideration of the TRO, saying it will be too hard to retract about 200,000 Colorado-bound notices that were already being processed at the time the order was issued.

To comply with the judge’s order would “require more than a thousand employees to attempt manual extraction of postcards,” the USPS said.

On Monday, Colorado election officials said the USPS claim about how many notices have already been sent in the state contradicts the agency’s earlier statements.

“The challenge of removing these notices from the mail stream arises because of defendants’ own conduct in continuing to place them in the mail stream after being put on notice, and being told on Friday that litigation was imminent,” Colorado’s election officials said in the filing.

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©2020 Bloomberg News

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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