A judge said Wednesday he wanted to ensure that any remaining ballots are cast for the highly competitive US election and asked Postmaster General Louis DeJoy to answer questions about why the postal service failed to complete a judicial review of undelivered ballots.
“The pressing questions are where the ballots are and how we deliver them so they can be counted,” said US District Judge Emmet Sullivan at the conclusion of a hearing that included testimony from USPS official Kevin Bray who answered questions about ballot deliveries.
Many states will accept ballot papers for up to a week after Tuesday election day, provided they have been postmarked by then. In the competition between Republican President Donald Trump and Democratic candidate Joe Biden, ballots are still counted by election officials in battlefield states.
The Postal Service will sweep through Saturday and use priority mail networks to deliver any remaining ballot papers. On Wednesday it was said to have completed the judge-ordered sweeps late Tuesday and cast only 13 ballots, all in Pennsylvania.
Sullivan had said that DeJoy, a Trump appointee and previously a Republican Party fundraiser, “must either be deposed or appear before me and swear under oath why some action has not been taken”.
Sullivan ordered the searches in response to lawsuits from groups such as Vote Forward, the NAACP, and lawyers for the Latino community.
The USPS informed Sullivan that he could not meet his 3 p.m. EST (2000 GMT) Tuesday as this was not logistically possible.
“The court made it very clear that it expected full compliance,” said Sullivan. “I was just as shocked to hear that nothing else was done after the injunction was issued.”
Sullivan separately ordered a new round of mail processing centers in Texas prior to the deadline for Wednesday’s postal voting. USPS said it identified about 800 ballots for delivery in the state during two sweeps on Wednesday.
The postal service’s data showed that by Sunday around 300,000 ballot papers received for mail processing had not received scans confirming delivery to electoral authorities.
In a lawsuit, the postal service said, “The lack of a target or finalization scan does not mean that the ballot papers have not been delivered.”
The USPS said Wednesday that “ballots were delivered before the deadline. We have taken extraordinary measures to deliver ballots directly to local electoral officers. In this case, those ballots bypass certain processing and do not get a final result.” Scan.”
Sullivan’s assignment included processing centers in central Pennsylvania, northern New England, Greater South Carolina, South Florida, Colorado, Wisconsin, and parts of Illinois, Arizona, Alabama, and Wyoming, as well as the cities of Atlanta, Houston, Philadelphia, and Detroit.
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