Judge Orders Post Office To Get Off Its Ass And Find Mail-In Ballots, Now, Vite, NO, NOW.
DC Circuit Judge Emmet Sullivan this morning ordered the US Postal Service to complete a thorough sweep of sorting facilities in a dozen USPS districts today, to make sure every last absentee ballot possible is delivered to elections officials. That includes facilities in several battleground states like Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Texas, and Pennsylvania. The order applies to states that have seen slow mail delivery in recent weeks.
Courthouse News Service has the deets:
Carried out by the Inspector General's Office for USPS, the process is known as an "all clear." Postal inspectors must go over the facilities where election mail is processing Tuesday afternoon "to ensure that no ballots have been held up and that any identified ballots are immediately sent out for delivery," U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan wrote in a lengthy docket entry this morning.
Wonkette hasn't previously given out awards for Judicial Badass of the Year, but between this and the Michael Flynn case, Judge Sullivan is certainly our top contender.
Most of the states included in the order require that absentee ballots arrive by the end of voting today in order to be counted, although Texas and Pennsylvania allow longer. (For now.) Texas allows ballots postmarked today to be counted if they arrive by 5 p.m. tomorrow. Pennsylvania says ballots postmarked by today can still be counted if they arrive by November 6, but the Supreme Court may fuck with that, so best if ballots are in today, yes?
In a motion filed this morning, the NAACP, one of the plaintiffs in cases against the USPS Sullivan is overseeing, pointed out that in addition to the delivery slowdowns in the affected postal districts, as of Monday afternoon, USPS data showed that "roughly 300,000 ballots received an origin processing scan (indicating they entered the processing system) but no destination scan confirming they were delivered." 300,000 ballots not delivered by Election Day is a bit of an emergency, to be sure, hence the order for USPS to go find all the ballots in those districts and deliver them. Sullivan's deadline for inspectors to do the sweep and certify that "no ballots were left behind" was 4:30 p.m. Eastern, so about right frickin' now.
The Justice Department fretted that the order would place a burden on USPS workers, but Sullivan said that while he's"extremely sensitive" to the need not to get in the way of postal workers doing their job, his order shouldn't place any undue burden on them. "Also, this IS YOUR JOB YOU JERKS," he did not actually add but should have.
And with that joyous tidbit of a judge brooking no shit, we adjourn until livebloog.
Update: OK, maybe not such joyous news after all, grrrrrrrrr.
BREAKING: USPS fails to meet deadline set by U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan to sweep facilities and immediately… https://t.co/GSdHE0GVFJ— John Kruzel (@John Kruzel) 1604439335.0
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