During a press conference Thursday largely focused on the state's approach to COVID-19, Gov. Jay Inslee also addressed a federal lawsuit filed earlier this week, which he put his support behind.
Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson is leading a coalition of states challenging changes at the U.S. Postal Service that opponents say could threaten critical mail delivery and could undermine the national election in November.
The Postmaster General announced this week cuts would wait until after the election.
The proposed Postal Service cuts, including eliminating staff overtime, halting outgoing mail processing at state distribution centers and removing critical mail sorting equipment, threaten the timely delivery of mail to millions of Americans who rely on the Postal Service for everything from medical prescriptions to ballots, a news release from Ferguson’s Office stated.
“For partisan gain, President Trump is attempting to destroy a critical institution that is essential for millions of Americans,” Ferguson said. “We rely on the Postal Service for our Social Security benefits, prescriptions — and exercising our right to vote. Our coalition will fight to protect the Postal Service and uphold the rule of law in federal court.”
Ferguson’s lawsuit asserts that the Postmaster General implemented these drastic changes to mail service unlawfully, and seeks to stop the service reductions.
At the press conference, Inslee called the changes a “very clear, brazen, unambiguous effort by Donald Trump to suppress the vote,” Inslee said, adding the president “has effectively confessed to that himself.”
Outside of effects on elections, Inslee noted other instances where Washingtonians relied on an effective postal service, such as mailed medications.
Inslee said a court decision would require the president’s administration to take action to address the post office issues, adding that simple promises from Trump “are not exactly credible.”
Inslee said USPS workers had expressed concern over a lack of a plan to fix the machines, while management said there was “intent” to fix them.
“We need to have a judicial decree ordering them to fix these machines,” Inslee said. “Until we get that, we will be appropriately skeptical.”
Inslee said he was considering what sort of executive action he could take to ensure smooth elections, though nothing had been decided as of the press conference, adding that what comes out of the lawsuit could determine any further steps.
“You can be assured that we’re going to do everything humanly possible to guarantee that right to vote in an expeditious manner,” Inslee remarked.