USPS Asked to Focus Ballot Sweeps on States With Later Deadlines


The U.S. Postal Service should continue its search for absentee ballots, focusing on more than a dozen states that have extended deadlines for accepting mail-in votes postmarked by Election Day, a civil rights group and a voting rights organization told a judge.

Shankar Duraiswamy, a lawyer for Vote Forward, said at a hearing Friday that USPS data submitted to the court showed almost 40,000 ballots were delivered to election boards Thursday -- two days after the election.

At least some of the ballots were mailed as early as Saturday and Sunday, but the data collected in the agency’s sweeps of postal facilities doesn’t show exactly how many ballots were technically late or couldn’t be counted because they were delivered in states that didn’t extend their deadlines.

Duraiswamy said the USPS should focus its remaining sweeps of postal facilities on 15 states with extended deadlines, including New York, New Jersey and Iowa. U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan in Washington said he’d consider the request and scheduled another hearing for 11 a.m. on Monday.

Late-arriving ballots could prove crucial in states like Pennsylvania, where the vote is close. President Donald Trump can’t win without that state, and he’s suing to challenge late ballots there.

The hearing Friday was related to three suits against the USPS and Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, who’s accused of hobbling the postal service with disruptive operational changes over the summer. As the hearing concluded, the judge praised lawyers for both sides for their conduct during a difficult case.

“I can’t say the same thing about Mr. DeJoy,” said Sullivan, who previously said he may require the USPS chief to testify under oath.

The USPS didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

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