NATIONAL NEWS

USPS commits to rerouting Reno-area mail despite bipartisan pushback and mail ballot concerns

Apr 23, 2024, 7:00 PM

LAS VEGAS (AP) — The USPS announced on Tuesday it will follow through with its plan to reroute Reno-area mail processing to Sacramento, a move that drew bipartisan ire from Nevada lawmakers while raising questions about the rate at which mail ballots can be processed in a populous part of a crucial swing state.

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy has cast the permanent measure as a cost saving move, but federal, state and local lawmakers have complained about a lack of transparency in the process that could slow mail throughout the region.

Under the plan, all mail from the Reno area will pass through Sacramento before reaching its destination — even from one side of the city to the other.

Democratic Secretary of State Cisco Aguilar, the state’s top election official, previously said moving operations could slow the processing of mail ballots, and “has the potential to disenfranchise thousands of Nevada voters and would unquestionably impact the results of Nevada’s elections.”

In the Tuesday statement, the USPS said “the business case” supported moving the processes to California, because most of the mail processed in Reno is destined elsewhere. The Reno facility will stay open as an area that prepares mail before it’s sent out. USPS will invest $13.4 million in the facility, mostly for renovations, per the agency.

“This plan for the Reno facility will help USPS achieve the core goals of our Delivering for America plan: financial sustainability for our organization and improved service reliability for our customers,” spokesperson Rod Spurgeon said in an emailed statement.

Democratic U.S. Sen. Jacky Rosen, who opposes the restructuring, previously told reporters that USPS officials indicated their tentative plan was to begin the rerouting in January, after the 2024 election. But in a statement Tuesday to The Associated Press, Spurgeon said there is no set date for implementation.

Lawmakers have expressed concerns that mail service can be caught in traffic delays even in the best of weather by the hour-long round trip drive over the Sierra Nevada, which lies between Reno and Sacramento. The area is also known for harsh blizzards throughout much of the year, including one in March that dumped up to 10 feet of snow and provided ammo for critics of the move.

Northern Nevada’s congressional delegation — which includes Rosen, Democratic U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto and Republican U.S. Rep. Mark Amodei — sent a letter to USPS opposing the move and have long spoken out against it.

Other opposition came from Republican Gov. Joe Lombardo and the Washoe County Commission, which includes Reno.

In a statement following the announcement, Rosen said she was “outraged that out-of-touch Washington bureaucrats think they know what’s best for our state.”

“Let me be absolutely clear: this fight is not over,” she said in the statement. “As a member of the committee with jurisdiction over the Postal Service, I will continue to fight against this ill-advised decision and explore all available options to prevent it from being implemented.”

Lombardo said his administration, along with Nevada’s congressional delegation, will “continue to fight against mismanagement in Washington for timely and efficient mail services for Nevadans.”

___

Stern is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a service program that places journalists in local newsrooms. Follow Stern on X, formerly Twitter: @gabestern326.

National News

Associated Press

More severe weather forecast in Midwest as Iowa residents clean up tornado damage

GREENFIELD, Iowa (AP) — The skies were blue and the wind was blowing as residents of the small city of Greenfield, Iowa, worked to clean up two days after a destructive tornado ripped apart more than 100 homes in just one minute, took the lives of four residents and injured at least 35 more. All […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

Ohio governor calls special session to pass legislation ensuring President Biden is on 2024 ballot

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio’s Republican Gov. Mike DeWine said Thursday that he is calling a special session of the General Assembly next week to pass legislation ensuring President Joe Biden is on the state’s 2024 ballot. “Ohio is running out of time to get Joe Biden, the sitting President of the United States, on […]

9 hours ago

Associated Press

Arizona doctors can come to California to perform abortions under new law signed by Gov. Newsom

SACRAMENTO (AP) — Arizona doctors can temporarily come to California to perform abortions for their patients under a new law signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom. California’s law is meant to circumvent an Arizona law — first passed in 1864 — that bans nearly all abortions in that state. The Arizona Supreme Court had ruled that […]

9 hours ago

Associated Press

Judge says $475,000 award in New Hampshire youth center abuse case would be ‘miscarriage of justice’

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — The judge who oversaw a landmark trial over abuse at New Hampshire’s youth detention center says capping the verdict at $475,000 as the state proposes would be an “unconscionable miscarriage of justice.” In a lengthy order issued Wednesday, Judge Andrew Schulman outlined five options for addressing the dispute that arose after […]

11 hours ago

Associated Press

Those who helped file voting fraud allegations are protected from suit, North Carolina justices say

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The North Carolina Supreme Court on Thursday threw out a defamation lawsuit against attorneys who assisted voters with submitting some 2016 ballot complaints, saying the fraud allegations they helped make were broadly protected within the protest process. The 5-0 ruling overturns the decision of a lower appeals court that determined only […]

11 hours ago

Associated Press

Arizona man convicted of first-degree murder in starvation death of 6-year-old son

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — A northern Arizona man was convicted in a jury trial Thursday of first-degree murder and other crimes in the 2020 starvation death of his 6-year-old son. Authorities say the boy was locked in a tiny bedroom closet for 16 hours a day over a month with his older brother as punishment […]

11 hours ago

USPS commits to rerouting Reno-area mail despite bipartisan pushback and mail ballot concerns