United States Postal Service FAILS to meet deadline set by judge to sweep facilities and deliver remaining mail ballots
- US District Judge ordered postal officials in swing states to sweep USPS facilities by 3 pm today
- By 4.30 pm, the officials must certify that facilities are clean and all ballots have been sent off to be counted
- The order stems from a lawsuit filed by a voting rights organization who fear massive numbers of ballots may be left behind in facilities until later in the week
- Some states will only count ballots received by this evening
- This year, tens of millions of Americans have chosen to send their ballots by mail to avoid polling booths because of the COVID-19 pandemic
The United States Postal Service has failed to meet a deadline to sweep mail processing facilities for delayed ballets and dispatch them immediately for counting in the 2020 Presidential Election.
On Tuesday morning, U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan ordered postal Inspectors in some swing states to check centers by 3 pm, and send off any ballots that may still be in their possession. Dozens of states do not accept mail-in votes that arrive after in-person polls close, meaning they needed to be sent with urgency.
However, according to a report in The Hill, the USPS pushed back, saying that ‘there are only one or two Inspectors in any one facility, and thus they do not have the ability to personally scour the entire premises to look for ballots’.
They claimed that Judge Sullivan’s order would ‘take them away from their other pressing Election Mail- related responsibilities’ and pledged to have Inspectors inside identified facilities ‘throughout the evening’.
However, that may be too late for some ballots to be counted if any are discovered.
Dozens of states do not accept mail-in votes that are delivered after in-person polls close. Most polling booths across the country close between 7 and 9 pm.
The action could potentially invalidate thousands of votes and throw the election into chaos.
Facilities that have been ordered to sweep include mail centers located in Atlanta, Georgia; Houston, Texas; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Detroit, Michigan; and Lakeland, Florida.
Others facilities in central Pennsylvania, northern New England, greater South Carolina, south Florida, Colorado, Arizona, Alabama and Wyoming should also have been inspected by 3 pm this afternoon.
US District Judge has ordered postal officials in swing states to sweep USPS facilities by 3pm to make sure no ballots have been left behind
A worker wearing a protective mask collects mail-in ballots to scan from a U.S Postal Service bin at the Miami-Dade Elections Department in Florida. The postal service has said it had delivered 122 million blank and completed ballots before Tuesday
The ruling came in response to a lawsuit brought by groups such as Vote Forward, a voting rights organization, and Latino community groups.
Many states will only count mailed ballots that are received by the end of Tuesday in their election results.
In August, USPS suspended cost-cutting moves such as removing post boxes and mail processing machines implemented by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, an ally of President Donald Trump. S
State attorneys general and civil rights groups said the changes would slow election mail delivery and make it difficult for voters to participate during the coronavirus pandemic.
The postal service has said it had delivered 122 million blank and completed ballots before Tuesday.
Biden and Trump are pictured on Tuesday morning ahead of ballots being counted in the 2020 Presidential Election
Political experts say that Democrats have been far more likely to vote via mail due to the fears surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.
In the battleground state of Pennsyvlania, for example, 1.6 million registered Democrats requested a mail-in ballot, in comparison with 586,000 Republicans.
Biden and the Democratic Party have also been encouraging citizens to vote by mail, while Trump has resisted such a move.
Trump claims mass mail-in voting can be subject to fraud and has urged his supporters to vote early and in-person.
Polls show Biden still holds a significant lead in the polls, although numbers in swing states have tightened in recent days.
Ready to go! Mail trucks will be delivering ballots in time for counting this afternoon