Federal Judge Orders Sweep Of Postal Facilities For Undelivered Ballots

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Adam Barnes General Assignment Reporter
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A federal district judge ordered a sweep of postal facilities Tuesday in 12 districts for remaining ballots after the U.S. Postal Service said in court that 300,000 ballots it received were not scanned for delivery, The New York Times (NYT) reported.

U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan issued the order to “ensure that no ballots have been held up and that any identified ballots are immediately sent out for delivery,” NYT reported. Sullivan said he was concerned about districts, including those in central Pennsylvania, Philadelphia and Detroit, where mail ballot processing had been slow.

The order comes after an early voting period showed record turnout as the U.S. battles the spread of COVID-19. (RELATED: Texas Becomes First State To Surpass 2016 Voter Turnout With 9 Million Ballots Cast)


The postal service claims that nearly 300,000 processed ballots do not show scans, which confirm the ballots’ delivery to a counting location, according to NYT.

Sullivan ordered an update from the postal service by 4:30 p.m. Tuesday to confirm “sweeps were conducted and that no ballots were left behind,” NYT continued. Postal officials, per NYT, say it’s possible mail-scanning machines could have missed ballots if they were stuck to each other or if the bar codes are unclear. They added that even if a ballot wasn’t properly scanned, it does not mean it wasn’t delivered.

Judge Sullivan previously ordered the postal service to implement “extraordinary measures” to ensure ballots were delivered in 22 districts — where the on-time delivery for ballots fell below 90% for 2 days the week of Oct. 22, according to the report.