- Judge ordered the USPS to find undelivered ballots by 3 p.m.
- The agency said it was unable to comply with the deadline
The U.S. Postal Service said it was unable to comply with a federal judge’s order to conduct a sweep of its facilities in crucial swing states for undelivered mail-in ballots by 3 p.m. on Election Day on the East Coast.
U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan in Washington had set that deadline earlier in the day for sweeps of USPS facilities in swing-state Democratic strongholds like Detroit, Philadelphia, Atlanta and Houston, as well as Arizona and South Florida. The postal service was to “ensure that no ballots have been held up,” Sullivan said.
“Defendants were unable to accelerate the daily review process to run from 12:30pm to 3:00pm without significantly disrupting preexisting activities on the day of the election, something which defendants did not understand the Court to invite or require,” the postal service said in a submission to the judge.
The USPS said it had already conducted “all clear” sweeps for ballots in the morning though, and another one was scheduled for 4-8 p.m.
In a separate statement, the USPS said it had been running sweeps of political and election mail since January 2020 and that it had intensified its efforts as Election Day approached. “Ballots will continue to be accepted and processed as they are presented to us and we will deliver them to their intended destination,” said USPS spokesman David Partenheimer.