Federal Judge orders 'sweep' of U.S. Postal districts to ensure no ballots were left behind in swing states, including Michigan


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Several hours into the presidential election on Tuesday, a federal judge in Washington, D.C., has ordered a "sweep" of U.S. Postal Service facilities in swing states to ensure that no mail-in ballots have been left behind, and to rush the delivery of those ballots that would not otherwise make the 8 p.m. voter deadline, The Hill reports.

The Postal Service was given a deadline of 3 p.m. Tuesday by U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan to “ensure that no ballots have been held up” in districts that have faced delays and complications as a result of President Donald Trump's cuts to USPS, as well as operational changes put in place by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy like reductions of equipment in processing plants and elimination of extra mail transportation trips. Previously, Sullivan has asked that the Postal Service return to its high-speed sorting processes and take “extraordinary measures” to deliver election-related mail in a timely manner.

The order comes after shocking mail-delay data revealed that more than 300,000 ballots that had entered the mail system did not show a “corresponding destination scan” that serves as confirmation that the item had actually been delivered.

As reported on Monday night, more than 97 million votes had been cast via early voting as coronavirus cases continue to surge in key battleground states. The early ballots cast in 2020 are nearly double what they were by election eve in 2016.

Judge Sullivan's order only applies to battleground states where early polls have revealed a tight race between Trump and Democratic rival Joe Biden, including Pennsylvania, Texas, Georgia, Florida, Arizona, and Michigan, specifically the Detroit area. A report by Sen. Gary Peters found that the Detroit area had the slowest mail in October.

Though Texas will allow mail-in ballots that have been postmarked by Nov. 3 as late as 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 4, and Pennsylvania will allow ballots postmarked on Nov. 3 to be accepted until Nov. 6, the other states require that mailed ballots be received by the time polls close — which, in Michigan, is 8 p.m.

For those eager to know if their ballot is among those that have yet to be scanned into their final destination, the Michigan Voter Information Center allows voters to check the status of their absentee and mail-in ballots.

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