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Judge orders USPS to scan battleground facilities for ballots and rush deliver them

A secrecy envelope for mailed voting ballots. (Chris Phan/Flickr)
November 03, 2020

A federal judge ordered the U.S. Postal Service to thoroughly scan facilities located in battleground areas on Tuesday in search of voting ballots – and rush deliver them for Election Day counting.

U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan issued a 3 p.m. Tuesday deadline for the Postal Service to “ensure that no ballots have been held up and that any identified ballots are immediately sent out for delivery” in areas of key battleground states, according to The Hill.

The areas included in the order have seen slow mailed ballot processing, and a narrow race between President Trump and Democratic candidate Joe Biden. The areas include Philadelphia and central Pennsylvania; Detroit; Colorado; Wyoming; Atlanta; Houston; Alabama; Northern New England; greater South Carolina; Lakeland and South Florida; and Arizona.

Michigan, Georgia, Florida, and Arizona all require mailed ballots to be received by the time polls close on Election Day to be counted. Pennsylvania and Texas, do not, however.

Texas allows mailed ballots to be received on November 4, as long as they are postmarked on November 3. Pennsylvania accepts ballots received until November 6 as long as they are dated November 3, a deadline that was just upheld by the Supreme Court this week.

Sullivan’s order came after the Postal Service provided data that showed mailing delays in numerous regions around the nation.

A data analysis conducted by the NAACP, who is involved in the lawsuit against the Postal Service, found that nearly 300,000 ballots scanned into the Postal Service’s system did not have a destination scan to confirm whether the ballots were delivered.