• Critics had said DeJoy ordered operational changes to give President Trump a better shot at reelection
  • DeJoy had canceled overtime and ordered carriers not to sort mail before hitting the streets
  • The postal service already had started dismantling sorting machines and removing and relocating mailboxes

Amid pressure from Democrats and voting rights advocates, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy announced Tuesday he would suspend operational changes critics said would hobble the U.S. Postal Service’s ability to deliver the expected surge in mail-in ballots expected for the November election.

DeJoy had rolled out a series of operational changes that included cutting overtime and limiting when carriers could sort mail for their routes, resulting in delivery delays. Critics accused him of taking actions that would throw the election into disarray and improve President Trump’s chance of reelection.

“The postal service is ready today to handle whatever volume of election mail it receives this fall. Even with the challenges of keeping our employees and customers safe and healthy as they operate amid a pandemic, we will deliver the nation’s election mail on time and within our well-established service standards,” DeJoy said in a press release. He called on-time delivery “between now and Election Day” the postal service’s No. 1 priority.

He said he has set up a task force to make sure election mail is handled properly.

DeJoy said he would put off all changes, which he said are designed to put the post office onto a more secure financial footing, until after the election.

“I want to assure all Americans of the following: Retail hours at post offices will not change, mail processing equipment and blue collection boxes will remain where they are, no mail processing facilities will be closed, and we reassert that overtime has, and will continue to be, approved as needed,” DeJoy said.

“In addition, effective Oct. 1, we will engage standby resources in all areas of our operations, including transportation, to satisfy any unforeseen demand.”

The announcement came just days before DeJoy was scheduled to appear before the Senate Homeland Security Committee Friday and the House Oversight and Reform Committee on Monday, and follows a call for a criminal investigation of both DeJoy and the USPS Board of Governors to determine whether the operational changes were ordered for personal or political gain.

"They felt the heat,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said during a Politico interview. “And that's what we were trying to do, to make it too hot for them to handle."

DeJoy, a major Republican donor and former logistics executive, said the changes he ordered produced only minor “operational impacts.”

The postal service had planned to eliminate about 10% of its mail-sorting machines and to replace and relocate public mailboxes – a process that had already begun in several states.

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said Sunday the president was not trying to interfere with anybody’s ability to vote, and Trump insisted this week he just wants to make the post office “great again,” despite his earlier remarks calling it a joke and other epithets.

Trump has railed against widespread mail-in voting, claiming without evidence there would be massive fraud. At the same time, he has praised Florida’s handling of absentee ballots – something of which he has taken advantage.