Capital Clicks

Miller: Postmaster general hasn’t followed federal law

By: - August 18, 2020 4:40 pm

Mail-in ballots have been the target of many new Republican-proposed restrictions in state legislatures. (Photo by iStock /Getty Images Plus)

After being blocked by the governor from joining a lawsuit challenging a proposed overhaul of the U.S. Postal Service, Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller said Tuesday he believes the postmaster general hasn’t followed federal law.

In 2019, Miller, a Democrat, agreed to seek the approval of Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds before joining multi-state lawsuits. As part of the agreement, Reynolds vetoed a GOP-backed bill that would have prevented Iowa’s attorney general from joining such lawsuits unless first requested to do so by the governor or legislature

Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller.

The deal has allowed Reynolds to block 45 of 67 requests by Miller, including one aimed at preventing the Trump administration from moving forward with an overhaul of the U.S. Postal Service. Some say the changes are designed to slow mail delivery in a way that could discourage voting in the November election.

“As per my agreement with Gov. Kim Reynolds, I requested to join a lawsuit challenging changes at the U.S. Postal Service,” Miller said Tuesday in a written statement. “The governor did not consent. I’m very concerned about service and policy changes at the Post Office. Reports from the American Postal Workers Union indicate that mail delivery in Iowa has been slowed by limits on staff overtime and removal of automatic sorting machines.

“I’m encouraged that Postmaster General Louis DeJoy has temporarily suspended some changes. He should reverse what’s already been done, however. My attorney general colleagues are going to court to ensure his promises are binding. I agree with their assertion that the postmaster general has acted outside of its authority to implement changes and did not follow the proper procedures required by federal law.”

Miller said he wants to “encourage Iowans to vote by mail” and said he can “assure them that I will do everything I can to ensure all eligible votes will be counted. With the efforts of my office and many others, Iowans will have full opportunity and time to vote by mail.”


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Clark Kauffman
Clark Kauffman

Deputy Editor Clark Kauffman has worked during the past 30 years as both an investigative reporter and editorial writer at two of Iowa’s largest newspapers, the Des Moines Register and the Quad-City Times. He has won numerous state and national awards for reporting and editorial writing.