A federal judge on Tuesday ordered the U.S. Postal Service to conduct an immediate Election Day sweep of processing facilities in multiple swing states for any remaining mail-in ballots and rush their delivery, according to Axios.
U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan gave USPS inspectors until 3pm ET “to ensure that no ballots have been held up and that any identified ballots are immediately sent out for delivery.”
Inspectors are ordered to report to the court by 4:30pm “confirming, in the most efficient manner available, that sweeps were conducted and that no ballots were left behind,” Sullivan wrote.
Emmet ordered the sweeps in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Colorado, Wyoming, Georgia, Texas, Alabama, Arizona, New England, South Carolina and Florida.
In several of those states, mail-in ballots must be received by the end of Tuesday, Axios reported.
Election officials in several states, along with the NAACP and voting rights groups, have sued the Postal Service, charging that actions by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy had slowed the mail and risked delaying the delivery of mail-in ballots.
The Postal Service says it has suspended those actions and that it is taking extraordinary steps to ensure that mail-in ballots are processed on time. It says it has processed and delivered some 122 million mail-in ballots.
However, data submitted to the court indicates that the Postal Service is not meeting its on-time delivery goals for first-class mail in some key swing states, including Michigan and Pennsylvania.
NPR also noted that about “27.5 million mail ballots are outstanding, according to the U.S. Elections Project.”