Last night, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) filed an agreement with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia requiring the United States Postal Service (USPS) to implement key measures that will prioritize and expedite the delivery of ballots for the January 5, 2021, Georgia Runoff Election. Among a variety of measures, the agreement requires the USPS to continue to use Express Mail to deliver ballots in certain circumstances and conduct daily sweeps of processing facilities in the week before the election to ensure no ballots are left behind.
“Every ballot must be counted, and this agreement with the USPS is a significant step in ensuring that the mail-in voting process for the Georgia runoff election will ensure the timely delivery of ballots,” said Sam Spital, LDF’s Director of Litigation. “The agreement provides for the prioritization of ballot delivery, the timely resolution of any delays in the delivery system, and transparency into the USPS process for ensuring that no voters are disenfranchised. LDF will continue to monitor every aspect of the Georgia election to ensure that all voters – especially Black voters who consistently face suppression and intimidation tactics – can participate via mail, through early voting or in person on Election Day.”
On August, 20, 2020, LDF and Public Citizen filed a lawsuit on behalf of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) against the USPS. The suit argues that summer changes by the USPS were implemented in violation of federal law and led to widespread disruptions in mail delivery that risked delaying the delivery of mail-in ballots — thereby causing voter disenfranchisement. The NAACP, the nation’s largest and oldest civil rights grassroots organization, and its members rely on the timely delivery of the mail for a variety of important functions, including mail-in voting.
On October 10, 2020, the court granted a preliminary injunction motion suspending service changes that had disrupted mail delivery – resulting in delayed delivery of prescription medications and other important mail in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, and raised concerns about the timely delivery of ballot applications and ballots in the run up to the 2020 General Election. USPS did not promptly comply with that injunction. The court then issued a series of additional orders leading up to the November 2020 General Election, which required USPS to take extraordinary measures to ensure the timely delivery of ballots and to provide daily updates about the delivery status of mail-in ballots.
Additional information on NAACP v. USPS can be found here.
Founded in 1940, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) is the nation’s first civil and human rights law organization. LDF has been completely separate from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) since 1957—although LDF was originally founded by the NAACP and shares its commitment to equal rights. LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute is a multi-disciplinary and collaborative hub within LDF that launches targeted campaigns and undertakes innovative research to shape the civil rights narrative. In media attributions, please refer to us as the NAACP Legal Defense Fund or LDF.