The U.S. Postal Service said Tuesday evening that it was not complying with a federal judge’s order to sweep mail processing facilities to ensure there is enough time to get any misplaced ballots to election officials before polls closed, The Washington Post reports. U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan of the District of Columbia had issued the order after the Postal Service revealed that more than 300,000 ballots across the nation had entered postal processing plants but subsequently failed to receive “exit scans,” indicating they might have been misplaced within the mail system.
The judge’s order affected postal districts that spanned 15 states, including parts of Pennsylvania, Michigan, Colorado, Wyoming, Georgia, Texas, Alabama, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, South Carolina, Florida, Wisconsin, Arizona, and New Mexico.
The Postal Service had been given until 3:30 p.m. to give the “all clear” for misplaced ballots, with the Justice Department’s attorneys arguing that “specifically, on Election Night, [the daily review process] is scheduled to occur from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.” but that “given the time constraints set by this Court’s order, and the fact that Postal Inspectors operate on a nationwide basis, Defendants were unable to accelerate the daily review process to run from 12:30pm to 3:00pm without significantly disrupting preexisting activities on the day of the Election, something which Defendants did not understand the Court to invite or require.”