FOIA on USPS 2020 Election Mail Plans

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On June 22 and 23, 2020, Protect Democracy filed Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests with the United States Postal Service (USPS) regarding their planning and preparations for an expected dramatic increase in absentee voting by mail.

With the general election just over four months away – and early voting starting weeks earlier in some states – preparations for the vote-by-mail surge must happen now. The public urgently needs to know whether the USPS is on track to carry out its role in enabling a free and fair election to proceed in November.

The USPS’s ability to fulfill its crucial mandate is threatened by President Trump’s baseless claims that voting by mail is “corrupt” and “ripe for fraud.” The newly appointed Postmaster General, Louis DeJoy, is a top donor to the President and the Republican National Committee who has no prior experience working at the USPS.

Protect Democracy has requested several documents, including:

  • Current and recent USPS planning documents that govern their outreach to state and county election officials and political parties;
  • Any records relating to communications with election-related vendors;
  • Any records regarding policies, practices, and procedures for delivering election mail, including ballots mailed without postage;
  • Any records regarding the training of USPS employees to deliver election mail;
  • Any records regarding the USPS’s performance in the primary elections; and
  • Any records of communications between USPS leadership and employees of the Department of the Treasury, the Department of Justice, and the Office of Management and Budget.

The requests seek expedited processing, citing the proximity to Election Day and the importance of the successful execution of voting by mail to our democracy.

“Free and fair elections are the bedrock of our democracy, and they cannot occur without the USPS playing its vital role,” said John Paredes, Counsel at Protect Democracy. “The documents we requested can help provide insight as to whether the USPS is fulfilling its duty to the American people.”

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