The US postmaster announced he will halt planned operational changes to the mail delivery service.
It comes after days of public pressure and a series of state lawsuits amid fears the changes would cause widespread delays that could disrupt the November presidential election.
Louis DeJoy said he would “suspend” several initiatives — including the removal of the blue mailboxes as well as changes to the post-office working hours.
He also said that no mail processing facilities will be closed and that overtime would not be eliminated. He didn’t single out however the newly imposed constraints on when mail can go out for delivery — a change that postal workers said is fueling delays.
“We will deliver the nation’s election mail on time,” DeJoy stated.
His U-turn comes after more than 20 states announced lawsuits to stop the changes.
President Donald Trump had previously criticised postal operations and claimed that universal mail-in ballots would be “a disaster”, as more Americans than ever are expected to choose to vote absentee due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Trump has also denied he is trying to slow-walk the service, while experts say that examples of ballot fraud have been overstated.
The House is expected to vote on Saturday on the legislation that would prohibit changes at the Postal Service. The bill will also include almost €25 billion to support the agency, which faces continued financial losses.