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A voter casts a vote by mail ballot at the mailbox for the 2020 primary in Nevada. Reno, NV, Jun. 9, 2020. (Photo: Trevor Bexon/Shutterstock)

Washoe County DA Files Lawsuit Against USPS

Lawsuit seeks to stop the agency’s ‘unilateral’ decision to transfer mail-processing operations from Reno to Sacramento, CA

By Megan Barth, May 29, 2024 9:50 pm

After receiving authorization from the Washoe County Board of Commissioners yesterday, and on the bipartisan heels of Sen. Jacky Rosen (D) and Governor Joe Lombardo’s (R) press conference in front of the United States Postal Service’s processing and distribution center in Reno, Nevada, the Washoe County District Attorney’s office has filed a lawsuit on behalf of Washoe County (see below) against the USPS and Postmaster General Louis DeJoy in an effort to stop the agency’s “unilateral” decision to transfer mail-processing operations from Reno to Sacramento, CA.

Senator Jacky Rosen and Governor Joe Lombardo hold a press conference in front of USPS Reno processing facility (Photo: @JosephMLombardo)

Washoe County DA Christopher Hicks and Assistant DA Lindsey Lidell maintain that Postmaster General Dejoy and the USPS circumvented procedural law requiring them to first receive approval from the Postal Regulatory Commission, an independent body overseeing their operations, before implementing “any plans that have a substantially nation-wide effect.” The DA’s also maintain that the defendants “deprived Washoe County of its procedural right to be heard and participate in action before the Postal Regulatory Commission.”

The complaint’s exhibits highlight the difficulty of travel from Northern California to Northern Nevada through the Donner Pass and the anticipated delays due to extreme weather conditions.

“If the current Postal Service plan is implemented, a letter destined for a person in Reno from another person in Reno would be placed on a truck, driven over Donner Pass to Sacramento – weather permitting, sorted in California, placed back on a truck to be driven over Donner Pass again – weather permitting, and then transferred to the Reno local processing center for delivery. It does not take much to imagine the mail delays our region could face with such a change.” said Hicks.

The county’s lawsuit seeks to unwind the Postal Service’s decision to move the operations until the appropriate regulatory commission can issue an opinion on the merits of the proposal,” Hicks concluded.

NVSOS Cisco Aguilar’s statement condemning USPS (Screenshot)

Back in February, Republican Congressman Mark Amodei, and Democratic Senators Rosen and Catherine Cortez Masto sent a letter of opposition to Postmaster General DeJoy highlighting their concerns over USPS’s proposed transfer.

The bipartisan delegation stressed “the potential impact of such changes to mail service reliability, the local economy, and jobs in the community” and voiced their frustration related to the lack of transparency related to the USPS decision. They noted that the over 220,000 Nevada veterans who receive their life-saving medications through the mail may encounter significant delays, and further emphasize the winter weather conditions between Reno and Sacramento that would impede the two-day mail delivery standard, “a standard that USPS already struggles to meet.”

They further emphasized that “sending over 100,000 mail- in-ballots from Nevada to California before they are sent back to Northern Nevada is extremely concerning to election officials in the state.”

Following the congressional warning, Secretary of State Cisco Aguilar, Washoe County Interim Registrar Cari-Ann Burgess, the Washoe County Commission, and Governor Lombardo raised similar concerns.

In a letter to Postmaster General DeJoy, Aguilar stated, “I can’t fathom how I would explain to my constituents that their mail …was trapped in the snow in the mountains due to a rushed process and lack of foresight,” and asked USPS to “come to their senses.”

In an interview with the Reno Gazette Journal (RGJ), Burgess warned, “It’s going to be terrible for our elections. To be honest with you, I wouldn’t even put it in the mail,” she said of the upcoming November election ballot. “I would drop it off at one of our vote centers.”

USPS Washoe


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One thought on “Washoe County DA Files Lawsuit Against USPS

  1. Shipped something’s “USPS ground advantage “. think they put it on UPS jet, hub in Memphis TN. ? Think it is better just shipping UPS, or USPS…or fedex ….

    The California Zephyr train…back in the day would get mail and packages to Chicago in a week door to door. Winter snow no problem. You wonder what algorithms USPS uses? Made in China?

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