U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan ordered the USPS to conduct a sweep of any remaining mail-in ballots in swing states like Pennsylvania
A federal judge has ordered all postal service inspectors to conduct a clean sweep for ballots and send them out immediately for delivery.
U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan issued a ruling on election day that that USPS must have inspectors search facilities in central Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Detroit, Colorado/Wyoming, Atlanta, Houston, Alabama, Northern New England, Greater South Carolina, South Florida, Lakeland, and Arizona for any outstanding ballots, The Hill reports. The deadline for many of these states to have a receipt for the mailed ballots are at the end of day on Tuesday.
Sullivan gave the USPS until 3 p.m. to “ensure that no ballots have been held up” in these locations.
The coronavirus has forced many voters to rely on mail-in voting. However, President Donald Trump has heavily criticized the voting method and claiming it will lead to rampant fraud. Twitter sanctioned the president on Monday for targeting mail-in voting once more.
As theGrio reported over the summer, Democrats allege that Postmaster General Louis DeJoy deliberately caused delays in mail delivery in a bid to help Trump’s re-election.
Tuesday’s ruling comes only days after Sullivan ordered the U.S. Postal Service to maintain its “extraordinary measures” so that ballots were delivered in a timely manner. Civil rights groups such as the NAACP and Vote Forward brought forth the case, believing that the USPS was not adhering to a memo that was sent out on Oct. 28.
“The use of extraordinary measures beyond our normal course of operations is authorized and expected to be executed by local management,” the USPS memo read, according to the Washington Post.
Sullivan made that mandate a requirement on Sunday after executives from USPS told the Washington judge that measures undertaken were not uniform.
“When recirculating the policy,” Sullivan ordered, “the Postal Service shall indicate that it is doing so to reiterate that all processing facilities must abide by the requirements of that policy to expedite the treatment of ballots, and that it is recirculating this policy at the instruction of a federal district court.”
Some of those measures were to include running collection of the ballot mail and making extra trips if necessary. Furthermore, ballot drop boxes were to be created at drive-through lanes at local post offices. There was also to be a clerk positioned outside of post offices to postmark ballots when they came in.
Sullivan also mandated that ballots, even those that did not have stamps, were to be delivered in a timely fashion.
“Every election ballot that is not sent to a processing facility must be postmarked … at the Post Office or local delivery unit, regardless of the postage payment method or indicia on the mailpieces,” Sullivan wrote. ”Even short paid ballots and ballots without postage must be postmarked (postage collection will happen later).”
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