A Federal judge in Washington, D.C. ordered the U.S. Postal Service to immediately begin sweeping processing facilities in more than two dozen states for any mail-in ballots which had not been processed. The mandate stated those ballots must be immediately rush delivered as ballot deadlines neared.
U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan ordered sweeps in areas including centers in central Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Detroit, Atlanta, south Florida and parts of Wisconsin. It comes after national delivery delays leading up to the election and concerns the agency wouldn’t be able to deliver ballots on time, the Associated Press reported.
The Postal Service’s ability to handle the surge of mail-in ballots became a concern after its new leader, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, a major GOP donor, implemented a series of policy changes that delayed mail nationwide this summer. Delivery times have since rebounded but have consistently remained below the agency’s internal goals of having more than 95% of first-class mail delivered within five days, with service in some battleground areas severely lagging, according to postal data.
The contentious issue of mail-in ballots has been a hot button topic throughout the campaign as President Trump has emphasized, without evidence, that they can lead to fraud.
Judge Sullivan wrote in the order that inspectors were to report to court after the sweeps to confirm "in the most efficient manner available, that sweeps were conducted and that no ballots were left behind.”
USPS delivery performance has reportedly dropped five straight days in the run up to the election, CNN reported.
There are five states where the USPS has received low processing scores, where ballots are also not allowed to be turned in after Election Day. Those states are Michigan, Wisconsin, Georgia, New Hampshire and Maine.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.