COVID-Related Election Litigation Tracker

Case Details

This database consolidates and tracks litigation concerning the effect of the pandemic on election law. The purpose of this tool is to provide an interactive list of relevant cases that can be searched by issue, court, status, and jurisdiction.

Case Details


Jones v. United States Postal Service


Jones v. United States Postal Service, No. 1:20-cv-06516 (S.D.N.Y.)

  Case Summary Plaintiffs are a group of New York candidates for office as well as voters from New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Illinois, California, and Wisconsin who for various reasons intend to vote by mail but are concerned that their mail in ballots will not be counted. Plaintiffs bring two challenges to the recent policy changes of the USPS: (1) a challenge under the first amendment that the policy changes create an undue burden on the right to vote under the Anderson-Burdick test. Plaintiffs allege a severe burden on the right to vote caused by voters being unable to cast ballots or being unsure that their ballots will successfully arrive on time to be counted. Plaintiffs identify cost saving as the only relevant government interest but assert that this is not sufficient to justify the burden and that in fact it is not clear if policy changes will reduce costs. (2) challenge under the EP clause since voters who must vote absentee are discriminated against by the possibility of disenfranchisement in addition to the fact that differences in post office handling of the mail across different locations will affect voters disparately. After detailing the historical importance of the post office, the complaint examines changes being made now which will impact the delivery of ballots. These changes include: allowing mail to be left for delivery until the subsequent day if plants are running late, forbidding overtime, prohibiting more than four park points (parking the truck to walk the mail) on mail routes, leaving mail behind overnight, no longer making extra trips, forcing carriers to return to the office on time even if mail is left over, a hiring freeze, prohibiting carriers from sorting mail before leaving office, which is important for election mail sorting to make sure it is not delayed, removing sorting machines across the country in particular in swing states and major cities, and the removal of mailboxes.
Filed 08/17/2020
State New York
Type of Court Federal
Circuit Second Circuit
Status Closed
Last Updated 03/13/2021
Issue Tag(s) Vote-by-Mail (US Postal Service, Mail Voting Deadlines (for Applying, Receiving, Postmark))
USPS issue
Complaint(s) 08/17/2020: Complaint filed.
09/09/2020: Complaint, Amended Complaint. filed.
Dispositive Ruling(s) 09/21/2020: Order/Ruling, Plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction is granted in part. The parties are ordered to reach an agreement providing appropriate relief. If they fail to do so, then the Court's order will come into effect requiring that 1) USPS will treat all election mail as first class mail or priority mail 2) USPS will provide a cost estimate for doing so 3) USPS will pre-approve all overtime from 10/26 to 9/6 4) USPS must submit a plan to the court to return first class and marketing mail to its previous on time delivery scores and must then implement that plan 5) USPS will submit to the court all of its recommended practices about the treatment of election mail 6) USPS will weekly update the court 7) USPS will provide a memorandum to its employees explaining its policies.
09/25/2020: Order/Ruling, The court required USPS, to the extent that excess capacity permits, to treat all Election Mail as First-Class Mail or Priority Mail Express. To the extent it has not already done so, by no later than September 25, 2020, USPS must provide the Court and Plaintiffs a cost estimate for treating all Election Mail, as defined herein, as First-Class Mail beginning on October 15, 2020. USPS must pre-approve all overtime that has been or will be requested for the time period beginning October 26, 2020 and continuing through November 6, 2020. USPS must submit to the Court a list of steps necessary to restore First-Class Mail and Marketing Mail on-time delivery scores to the highest score each respective class of mail has received in 2020, which are 93.88 percent for First-Class Mail and 93.69 percent for Marketing Mail, and shall thereafter make a good faith effort to fully implement the listed steps. To the extent it has not already done so, no later than September 25, 2020, USPS must submit to the Court a list of all USPS recommended practices concerning the treatment of Election Mail that are not binding policies.
09/29/2020: Other, The Court clarifies that Paragraph 3 of the Preliminary Injunction means that overtime is to be used to ensure the timely delivery of Election Mail, as opposed to all mail.
10/09/2020: Other, Memo from USPS leadership USPS officers complying with the court's order by explaining that election mail is the prioroty and that extraordinary measures, including making extra delivery trips and working overtime, will be taken to ensure that election mail is delivered promptly.
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