Court Orders USPS to Sweep Post Offices in Numerous States for Mailed Ballots
Court Order Comes After Order Last Week Forced Trump Administration to
Use Special Measures to Deliver Election Mail Immediately
USPS Has Made Excuses to Avoid Compliance with Delivery of Ballots for Months
NEW YORK – New York Attorney General Letitia James today announced a major victory for voters across the nation in the effort to ensure every ballot cast in today’s election is counted. Judge Emmet Sullivan of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued a minute-order in which he instructed the United States Postal Service (USPS) to immediately send postal inspectors or inspectors from the USPS Office of Inspector General to post offices in various cities and states across the country to sweep for any ballots that have yet to be delivered and send them out immediately.
“This is a major win for all Americans,” said Attorney General James. “Our democracy is at its strongest when every voice is heard. This order will ensure the will of the people decides the outcome of this election, not the Trump Administration. We will continue to fight for every voice to be heard, but I urge all Americans who have yet to vote to do so now. Either drop your absentee ballot off in-person or go vote in-person.”
The court order forces the USPS to — by 3:00 EST today — have the USPS conclude a sweep of all facilities in the following jurisdictions for ballots that have yet to be delivered:
- Central Pennsylvania,
- Northern New England,
- Greater South Carolina,
- South Florida,
- Lakeland (Wisconsin), and
The post offices in all of the above-mentioned jurisdictions have continued to receive low internal ratings from the USPS.
In August, Attorney General James led a coalition of states and cities from across the country in filing a lawsuit to stop the Trump Administration’s attempts to dismantle the USPS. The slowdown is already having life-threatening impacts on veterans and seniors who are not receiving medication, as well as economic impacts on individuals waiting for pension checks and paychecks. As the United States neared today's presidential election, the USPS was also expected to handle a record number of mail-in ballots because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Shortly after the lawsuit was filed, Attorney General James filed a motion for a preliminary injunction, asking the court to quickly stop President Donald Trump, the USPS, and Postmaster General Louis DeJoy from continuing down the path of slowing mail operations in the lead-up to Election Day. In September, the court issued a preliminary injunction, national in scope, that was set to immediately take effect, but for a month the Trump Administration made excuses in an effort to avoid full compliance with that order.
Last week, Attorney General James won an interim order — issued by the same court that issued today’s decision — that clarified that the Trump Administration must take every effort to restore USPS sorting machines and use special measures (including delivering mail via air transportation) to deliver election mail on time over the next several weeks.