Kevin Bray, who is responsible for all mail-handling operations during the 2020 elections, testified in court on Wednesday that the Postal Service will continue additional measures through Saturday in order to ensure that mailed votes can be counted.
These measures may be of particular importance in Pennsylvania, where state law allows ballots – stamped by the mail before or on Election Day – to arrive by November 6 and are still being counted.
President Donald Trump’s campaign plans to go to the Supreme Court to ask judges to intervene in a pending case challenging the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling that allowed late-arriving votes to be counted. The judges had refused to speed up the appeal before the elections, but they are still considering hearing the case.
Bray said the USPS will continue to use the express courier network, which includes one to two days of delivery, and what they call a “local shift,” which allows for local ballot papers to be delivered on the same day or the next day.
The announcement comes as scores of votes continue to be counted across the country as the presidential election approaches. Although ballots received in the mail after Election Day will be a small percentage of the total vote, more than a dozen states – including Ohio, Florida, and North Carolina – allow ballot papers to be received if they are mailed to or before Election Day. . Those states account for 317 of the country’s 538 electoral votes – or 59%.
Judge Emmet Sullivan also ordered that in addition to the daily USPS surveys of election mail, USPS processing plant managers must also certify that all local ballots have been sent to the local elections or the post office by 10 a.m., local time, on Mondays and Tuesday.
But Sullivan was so outraged that the Postal Service was unable to sweep its facilities to a vote on Tuesday afternoon that he said on Wednesday he wanted answers under oath from General Mail Manager Louis Deguy.
“I agree that the postmaster either has to be removed or testified before me under oath,” Sullivan said. He said he was not pleased that the USPS was unable to comply with the court order on Election Day, and did not notify him until the court deadline passed that they had no on-site staff at the facilities to search for ballot papers in the mid-afternoon.
Sullivan placed numerous court orders requiring the Postal Service to explain how much election mail it fails to process daily, particularly in low-performing states, which includes parts of major battlefield states like Pennsylvania.
Tuesday’s court ordered additional scanning in response to reports of underperformance in some areas – where a strict deadline for absentee ballots to reach election boards approached – and questions about what happened to the 300,000 ballot papers without a final scan before they were delivered. .
“Someone might have a price to pay for it,” the judge said of USPS ‘failure to clean the facilities overtime on Tuesday.
“They are your agents,” Sullivan told a Department of Justice attorney representing USPS. “I worry about your customers, everyone starts at the top of the food chain.”
Joseph Borson, the USPS representative, told the judge the reason the Postal Service did not conduct the surveys is because “it took a while for this information to get to the right people.”
Jeremy Herb of CNN contributed to this report.