The United States Postal Service on Friday announced that it reached a settlement with the NAACP over mail delays in 2020.
The NAACP filed the lawsuit last year, alleging that the Postal Service made changes that resulted “in unreliable service and widespread delays.” The suit was originally filed against Postmaster General Louis DeJoy and the Postal Service over changes that he made when he was appointed by former President Trump.
At the time, DeJoy restructured some of the operations of the Postal Service and said the changes would improve efficiency.
However, the NAACP alleged that the changes were electorally motivated in the lead-up to the 2020 presidential election, when many people used mail-in ballots amid the spread of the coronavirus.
In the settlement of the suit, the Postal Service agreed to frequently report election mail issues, provide information about election mail performance and take extraordinary measures to deliver ballots in upcoming elections, among other things.
“Consistent with the Postal Service’s steadfast commitment to fulfilling our vital role in the nation’s electoral process, we agreed to continue to prioritize monitoring and timely delivery of Election Mail for future elections,” Thomas Marshall, the Postal Service general counsel, said, according to NBC News. “This will include outreach and coordination with election officials and election stakeholders, including the NAACP.”
The Postal Service also agreed to post guidance regarding mail-in election ballots by Feb. 1 for primary elections and by Oct. 1 for general elections through 2028, according to the settlement.
In a statement released on Friday, Derrick Johnson, the head of the NAACP, referred to the settlement as an “unprecedented victory for civil rights.”
“When we fight, we win. Ballot box or mailbox, a vote is a vote, and each vote is sacred. 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,” he said.
Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta also agreed with the outcome of the settlement.
“The right to vote and ability to access the ballot is the cornerstone of our democracy,” Gupta wrote in a statement. “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.”