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Lawsuit filed over plan to move Nevada mail center to California

Updated May 31, 2024 - 4:10 pm

Washoe County filed a lawsuit this week against the United States Postal Service and Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, seeking to block plans to downsize and relocate its outgoing mail processing facility from Reno to Sacramento.

The Postal Service announced in April it was moving forward with plans to downsize and relocate its outgoing mail processing operations from Reno to Sacramento as part of its 10-year Delivering for America plan to achieve financial stability.

Since then Nevada elected officials fought to block the plan when it was introduced last month, expressing worries that in a state that depends on the use of mail ballots for its elections, sending mail ballots from Nevada to California and then back to Nevada could disrupt the election process. They also worry the plan could delay Northern Nevadans from receiving important mail such as prescriptions.

Rosen, Lombardo opposed

On Tuesday, Sen. Jacky Rosen and Gov. Joe Lombardo expressed strong opposition to the proposal. The two previously joined in sending a letter with Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto and Rep. Mark Amodei expressing their concerns.

“Northern Nevadans deserve to have full confidence in our postal service, and we will continue to advocate for accountability from USPS,” Lombardo said Tuesday.

“I am proud to work with Gov. Lombardo and our Northern Nevada congressional delegation to strongly oppose the misguided USPS plan to move Reno mail processing to Sacramento, and highlight the negative impacts this move would have for Nevada,” Rosen said Tuesday.

“As Gov. Lombardo and I made clear today: Washington bureaucrats don’t know our state or how much this proposal will hurt Nevadans’ ability to access timely mail delivery,” she said.

Rosen announced she was working on legislation to prevent USPS from moving forward with the plan. The Washoe County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to allow the Washoe County District Attorney’s Office to take legal action.

The Postal Service did not return requests for comment.

Lawsuit alleges circumvention

Washoe County’s attorney wrote in the complaint that mail originating from northwestern Nevada has been processed and sorted in the Reno Processing and Distribution Center for years. When Washoe County sent election mail to its registered voters, it would be sorted at the Reno facility and then transferred to other local mail handlers for further sorting and prompt delivery, the lawsuit says.

Once the USPS implements its plan in January, however, a letter placed in the mail in Reno to be sent to another place in Reno will first be transferred over Donner Pass to Sacramento for sorting and then brought back to the Reno processing center for processing and delivery, totaling a 250-mile round trip, the complaint says.

The lawsuit alleges the Postal Service and DeJoy “circumvented procedural law” that required them to first request an advisory opinion from the Postal Regulatory Commission. It also argues that the Postal Service’s actions deprived Washoe County of its right to be heard and to participate in an action before the Postal Regulatory Commission.

It argues the implementation of the plan will delay the receipt and postmarking of Washoe County mail, which harms its departments that rely on mail correspondence and may disenfranchise its residents.

Contact Jessica Hill at jehill@reviewjournal.com. Follow @jess_hillyeah on X.

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