By David Shepardson
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) and NAACP reached a settlement to resolve a 2020 lawsuit over election mail that the Justice Department said would ensure prioritizing delivering ballots in future elections.
USPS agreed for the 2022 mid-term congressional election to take the same extraordinary measures used to deliver ballots in the November 2020 election. The Postal Service also agreed for elections through 2028 to post guidance documents publicly reflecting its “good faith efforts to prioritize monitoring and timely delivery of Election Mail.”
USPS general counsel Thomas Marshall said USPS “agreed to continue to prioritize monitoring and timely delivery of Election Mail for future elections. This will include outreach and coordination with election officials and election stakeholders, including the NAACP.”
Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta said, “The right to vote and ability to access the ballot is the cornerstone of our democracy. The department is pleased we could facilitate a resolution that reflects the commitment of all of the parties to appropriately handling and prioritizing election mail.”
NAACP President Derrick Johnson said, “No one, including the USPS, should ever stand in the way of our constitutional rights. With the NAACP’s ability to now monitor the performance of the USPS during national elections, we will ensure that the right to vote is protected for of all citizens, including those often suppressed.”
The NAACP sued in the summer of 2020 to ensure timely delivery of mail-in ballots. Several courts ordered USPS to take extraordinary measures to ensure ballot deliveries, especially since a record number of Americans opted to vote by mail during the COVID-19 pandemic,
USPS reiterated that it “continues to believe that none of the Election Mail lawsuits were justified by the facts or supported by the applicable law.”
USPS will provide weekly reports on service performance during the six weeks leading up to general elections.
(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Mark Porter)