USPS Says It Completed Election Day Sweep for Mail-In Ballots

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The U.S. Postal Service said it finished a mandatory sweep for undelivered mail-in ballots at facilities in crucial swing states late Tuesday despite missing a 3 p.m. deadline on Election Day to conduct the search.

“I can confirm that last night’s sweeps were completed as required,” USPS spokesman David Partenheimer said Wednesday in an email.

U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan in Washington, who’s overseeing one of several lawsuits against the USPS over disruptive operational changes, ordered the sweep on Tuesday. He is scheduled to hold a hearing in the case at 12 p.m.

After the USPS told Sullivan on Tuesday that it wouldn’t be able to complete the sweeps by 3 p.m. as ordered, the judge said the postal service would need to explain why.

On-time delivery has taken on a new urgency amid a surge in the use of mail-in ballots during the pandemic and Republican efforts to block the counting of ballots that arrive after Election Day.

The court-ordered search related to USPS facilities in Democratic strongholds like Detroit, Philadelphia, Atlanta and Houston, as well as battleground regions like Arizona and South Florida. The facilities that were singled out were suffering from substandard performance for delivery of election mail, according to data that the USPS was required to file regularly with the court.

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