Virginia Democrats Sue USPS Over Delays That Could Impact State Governor Race

The U.S. is being sued by the Virginia Democratic Party Postal Service for allegedly failing to deliver election-related voter materials on time, claiming that the lapse “threaten[s] to disenfranchise thousands of Virginia voters” just ahead of the state’s consequential gubernatorial election.

The suit filed on Friday in a U.S. district court in Richmond, Virginia, cites a “significant delay in election mail” in Albemarle, Portsmouth, and James City, calling the dysfunction “particularly egregious.” The delayed mail reportedly represents a quarter of all ballots in these three jurisdictions.

The suit names Gerald Roane (USPS Virginia district manager) and Frank Veal (USPS South Atlantic division director), as plaintiffs in this case.

“Thousands of ballots delivered to postal facilities by the general registrars weeks ago are still outstanding and, weeks later, have not yet even been scanned into USPS’s system. Even if these voters do eventually receive their ballots before Election Day, the slowdowns promise that they will not have sufficient time to send them back with assurance that they will arrive in time to be counted,” the two wrote.

“And even if a ballot reaches the appropriate election official before the receipt deadline, if the official identifies any issues with it that require remediation before it may be counted, the voters will have run out of time to rectify the problem.”

The offensive comes amid Virginia’s nail-biting gubernatorial race, whose candidates include the state’s former Democratic Governor, Terry McAuliffe, and right-wing businessman Glenn Youngkin. Just one week away from the election, a recent poll put them in a dead heat, with both candidates receiving 48.3% of the state’s votes. Youngkin would be the state’s first Republican governor since 2009, CNN notes.

The USPS has denied the suit’s allegations, telling CNN that the agency has a “robust and tested process for the proper handling and timely delivery of Election Mail.”

“Our Election Mail processes and procedures are fully operational in Virginia. We are not aware of any processing delays of any ballots within our facilities nor any ballot delivery delays, and we have fully communicated this information to election officials,” the agency wrote in a statement.

The state’s Department of Elections indicates that Virginia voters had until last Friday in order to request mail-in-ballots. The ballots must be delivered to the state’s registrar by November 2 to be counted in the election.

Last month, U.S. Postmaster General General Louis DeJoy announced that Americans should expect significant delays as part of the Trump appointee’s ten-year plan to help the agency – which last year hemorrhaged $9 billion – become more financially stable.

DeJoy is facing increasing calls to resign due to his alleged conflicts. They center on XPO Logistics which was a freight company that reportedly contracted for the USPS during DeJoy’s government tenure. Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, (CREW), met last week. reportedDeJoy refused, despite having resigned from agency decisions that affected the firm, to seize XPO from him until October last year.