Decision 2020

Judge Orders USPS to Search Facilities for Ballots, Including in South Florida

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A federal judge in Washington, D.C., has ordered U.S. Postal Service inspectors to sweep more than two dozen mail processing facilities for lingering mail-in ballots and for those ballots to be sent out immediately.

The order, which includes centers in central Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Detroit, Atlanta, South Florida and parts of Wisconsin, comes after national delivery delays leading up to the election and concerns the agency wouldn’t be able to deliver ballots on time.

The Postal Service’s ability to handle the surge of mail-in ballots became a concern after its new leader, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, a major GOP donor, implemented a series of policy changes that delayed mail nationwide this summer.

In a statement Tuesday, the USPS said they began sweeps in January 2020 to ensure political and election mail wasn't left behind, and said the efforts were intensified as Election Day approached.

"The U.S Postal Inspection Service is in our facilities throughout the country ensuring the physical security of Election Mail in the workplace. Since Oct. 29, the Inspection Service has been conducting daily reviews at all 220 facilities that process ballots," the statement read, in part. "Ballots will continue to be accepted and processed as they are presented to us and we will deliver them to their intended destination."

Delivery times have since rebounded but have consistently remained below the agency’s internal goals of having more than 95% of first-class mail delivered within five days, with service in some battleground areas severely lagging, according to postal data.

On Friday, 48 undelivered ballots were found sitting in a post office near Homestead. Miami-Dade's Supervisor of Elections Christina White said Monday that she was confident the issue wasn't widespread.

“They have also assured me that as of late as this morning, that all 67 postal facilities within Miami-Dade County would receive the same sweep and all ballots would be returned to our office," White said.

AP and NBC 6
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