The USPS removed 711 mail-sorting machines this year — twice as many as in recent years, officials told federal court

  • The US Postal Service removed 711 mail-sorting machines this year, according to testimony and documents submitted to a New York federal court. 
  • That's nearly double the 388 machines a year, on average, that have been removed by the USPS between 2015 and 2019. 
  • There have been concerns the USPS won't be able to process the millions of mail-in ballots in time for November's presidential election thanks to the agency's cost-cutting measures. 
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The US Postal Service took more than 700 mail-sorting machines out of service this year, which is double the amount of machines decommissioned in recent years, according to court testimony and documents submitted to a New York federal court. 

The court is hearing a lawsuit about a potential disruption to election mail caused by policy changes enacted by the postmaster general, Trump appointee Louis DeJoy. 

The USPS's director of processing operations, Jason DeChambeau, told the court that 711 mail-sorting machines had ben removed this year, according to CNN, which obtained copies of the court records.

That's the highest number of machines taken out of commission during President Donald Trump's time in the White House, and nearly double the 388 machines on average that have been removed each year between 2015 and 2019.

USPS employees said that the removal of outdated mail-sorting machines is standard practice, but did raise concerns about doing so during an election year, CNN reported.

DeJoy has come under fire in recent weeks for his cuts to the agency, which has caused a delivery slowdown in parts of the country, and caused worries about whether the Postal Service would be prepared to process millions of mail-in ballots for the November presidential election. 

DeJoy sought to put lawmakers at ease when he testified before Congress last month, saying that he would put the cuts on hold until after the election. 

However, he added that the mail sorters that had been removed would not be replaced. 

DeChambeau added in his court testimony that the decision to remove the 711 mail-sorting machines had been made before DeJoy became postmaster general in June, and were in response to a significant drop in mail caused by the coronavirus outbreak, according to CNN.

DeChambeau said that DeJoy himself ordered the removals to stop on August 18. 

The USPS has become a hot-button issue ever since workers started raising concerns about DeJoy's cost-cutting measures and how they would impact the November election. 

Democrats have been trying to aid the agency, passing a bill for emergency funding in the House. Though it's unlikely to get to Trump's desk with a Republican-held Senate, the president has vowed to veto it if it does.

Trump has been claiming for months, without evidence, that mail-in voting is the root of widespread voter fraud. Experts have repeatedly fought back against the president's claims, and top Republicans have said that his attacks on mail-in voting could cost the GOP Party the election.

A recent Emerson College poll found that Biden supporters are more likely than Trump supporters to vote by mail this year.

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