USPS Blows Off Federal Judge’s Order, 300,000 Ballots Missing

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Donald Trump has already been stretching his authoritarian legs. He recently installed a lackey postmaster who has been blatantly disregarding judicial orders. That is right, U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan of the District of Columbia on Tuesday ordered the United States Postal Service (USPS) to do sweeps in 12 postal districts covering 15 states. These sweeps were to find any ballots not yet delivered to the polls. The USPS blew past the 3:30 pm deadline on Tuesday.

As the November 3,  2020 deadline approached, the USPS missed quotas for “five days in a row,” according to new court filings, CNN reported:

‘For the fifth day in a row, the US Postal Service moved fewer ballots on-time in critical battleground states than it did in the previous day.’

The court order followed a USPS notice that 300,000 ballots were missing. The Department of Justice (DOJ) attorneys for the Post Office said the agency would not follow the order. Attorney John Robinson indicated that this review process was already on schedule from 4:00 to 8:00 on election night, according to The Washington Post:

‘Given the time constraints set by this Court’s order, and the fact that Postal Inspectors operate on a nationwide basis, Defendants were unable to accelerate the daily review process to run from 12:30 pm to 3:00 pm without significantly disrupting preexisting activities on the day of the Election, something which Defendants did not understand the Court to invite or require.’

On Tuesday morning, the USPS reported:

‘[300,523 ballots nationwide had received] incoming scans at postal processing plants but not exit scans, leaving voting rights advocates worried that hundreds of thousands of votes could be trapped in the mail system.’

NAACP Attorney Allison Zieve reported:

‘This is super frustrating. If they get all the sweeps done today in time, it doesn’t matter if they flouted the judge’s order. They say here they will get the sweeps done between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m., but 8 p.m. is too late, and in some states 5 p.m. is too late.’

USPS agency spokesperson David Partenheimer wrote in an emailed statement there was an “all clear” sweep in January looking for misplaced political mail (political flyers) and election mail (ballots, ballot applications, and voter registration information).

He said the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, which is the USPS law enforcement arm watches over 220 ballot processing facilities:

‘Ballots will continue to be accepted and processed as they are presented to us and we will deliver them to their intended destination.’

Sullivan ordered the Postal Service to report daily information on ballot performance score and document in underperforming districts:

‘When I read about the astronaut voting seamlessly from outer space, there must be a better way for Congress to address all these issues. Think about it. Every year everyone knows to file taxes by April 15th. It’s seamless. If you don’t file, there’s penalties. But everyone knows — that’s a given.’

Sullivan said:

‘Postmarks matter, postmarks don’t matter. … Delivery matters, delivery after a date doesn’t matter. Why can’t there be one set of rules? Someone needs to be tinkering with the system to make sure it works seamlessly and better for the American voters.’

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