Judge: USPS Will Pay Price for Ignoring Ballot Search Order

At least 8K ballots weren't processed on time
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 4, 2020 3:13 PM CST
Judge: USPS 'May Have Price to Pay' for Ignoring Order
In this Friday, Oct. 23, 2020 photo, mail-in ballots for the 2020 General Election in the United States are seen after being sorted at the Chester County Voter Services office, in West Chester, Pa.   (AP Photo/Matt Slocum, File)

A federal judge who ordered the United States Postal Service to sweep its facilities for undelivered ballots Tuesday afternoon is furious about the service's decision to treat the order as optional. "Someone may have a price to pay for that," US District Judge Emmett Sullivan said in Washington, DC Wednesday, per Politico. The USPS decided to ignore his order Tuesday, saying it would stick to its own schedule for inspecting facilities later on Election Day, but Sullivan was not informed until afterward. Sullivan said Wednesday that he would have altered the conditions of his order if the USPS had bothered to tell him that it found them troublesome.

The judge told a Justice Department attorney arguing the service's case Wednesday that he blamed USPS leaders, "each and every one of them, starting at the top of the food chain." Sullivan warned that Postmaster General Louis DeJoy is "going to have to be deposed or appear before me." Sullivan issued his order after the USPS disclosed that around 300,000 ballots nationwide that had received entry scans at processing facilities but not exit scans and could not be traced, the Washington Post reports. The USPS said many of those ballots had likely been hand-culled by clerks to expedite delivery. It acknowledged in a court filing Wednesday, however, that around 7% of ballots in its facilities Tuesday, almost 8,000 ballots, were not processed in time for submission to election officials. (Read more Election 2020 stories.)

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