A federal judge in Washington, D.C. wants answers from the U.S. Postal Service about why his Tuesday order to sweep USPS facilities for missing ballots wasn’t followed. District Judge Emmett Sullivan scheduled a second status hearing Wednesday afternoon, calling for direct testimony from a USPS official.
“The court has been very clear that it expects total compliance with the court’s injunction,” Judge Sullivan said. “That was just a shock to hear.”
On Tuesday, Judge Sullivan ordered USPS to sweep 12 mail processing facilities by 3 p.m. for ballots that hadn’t yet been scanned for delivery. According to USPS data, more than 300,000 ballots hadn’t received an “exit scan” as of Tuesday morning.
Department of Justice lawyers representing USPS said all scans were conducted as of Wednesday morning instead, saying they confirmed with plant managers.
“The reviews and the inspections and the certifications that your Honor ordered did happen. Obviously, the timing did not,” said an attorney representing the Postal Service.
Lawyers for the plaintiffs’, which include the NAACP and other groups, say they need more information from the Postal Service about the sweeps, including how many ballots are found in any additional inspection.
“With an eye to those deadlines of November 6 ... it probably requires a daily sweep. A daily sweep in the morning and a daily sweep late in the day to make sure any outstanding ballots are identified and moved along,” Shankar Duraiswamy, one attorney for the plaintiffs, said.
Plaintiffs’ also called for testimony directly from a USPS official, suggesting Postmaster General Louis DeJoy.
Judge Sullivan agreed, saying “I agree the Postmaster is either going to have to be deposed or appear before me and testify under oath about why some measures were not taken.”
Judge Sullivan also said he wants more answers on the remaining ballots not yet scanned for delivery, and he asked for a USPS official to be present at Wednesday afternoon’s hearing.