The Postal Service also said about 300,000 votes nationwide received an input scanned but not scanned out, alarming voter rights advocates that the number of votes equals more than half of the population. Wyoming numbers may be mailed and missed due to submission.
US District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan for the District of Columbia ordered “all-clear” additional checks and enhanced oversight at the request of civil rights groups, including NAACP and Transitional Voting. This order affects 12 postal counties spanning 15 states.
Election and postal experts say the mailing body can process 97 percent of incoming ballots – or that completed ballots are sent to election officials. But data showed the Post Office missed that mark seven out of eight days. And over the past five days, handling scores have dropped from 97.1% on October 28 to 89.6% on November 2 (The Post Office is not reporting data on Sunday).
In the 17 postal districts with 151 electoral votes, Monday’s on-time processing rate was even lower: 81.1%.
Sullivan ordered officials from the US Postal Inspection Service, its law enforcement body or the Office of the Post Inspector General, its independent oversight body, to examine all of them. handling facilities in Central Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Metro, Detroit, Colorado / Wyoming counties, Atlanta, Houston, Alabama, North New England (Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine), Greater South Carolina, South Florida, Lakeland (Wisconsin) and Arizona (including New Mexico) at 3pm
Before 4:30 pm, the Inspector General’s office must also confirm to Sullivan of the 27 disposal centers where it has observed operation since October 19, unless disclosing such locations would be dangerous. for inspections.
Attorneys for the Department of Justice representing the Post Office warn that the ballot processing point may not be reliable. Figures do not include “first mile” and “last mile” mail processing steps that could add time to deliveries. The Post Service has also encouraged local post offices to sort the ballots themselves and forward them to election officials, instead of sending items to regional processing factories.
More than 65 million Americans voted using absentee ballots, according to the US Elections Project, and more than 27 million ballots by mail are still in stock. Experts are encouraged by the high rate of return of votes in the rotating states that could reduce the impact of mail delays. In Michigan, 85.6% of absentee ballots were returned. In Wisconsin, 89.7% were returned, and in Pennsylvania it was 80.9%.
Sullivan took a step further than judges in Pennsylvania, New York and Washington state to increase correspondence oversight. He ordered the Postal Service to report daily data on ballot execution scores, and provide daily written explanations for ineffective counties.
He scheduled daily hearings – some of which included oath testimonies from postal directors – about the agency’s struggles. On Monday, he lamented the nation’s insane mail-voting rules, saying the system should be overhauled to “ensure it works seamlessly and better for US voters.”
“When I read about astronauts voting seamlessly from outer space, Congress had to have a better way to solve all these problems,” he said.
Sullivan compared the chaos of Election Day rules with the relative simplicity of the federal income tax period. “Think about it. Every year everyone knows to pay taxes before April 15. It’s seamless. If you do not apply, you will be penalized. But everyone knows – that is a given. “
In contrast, the state postal voting deadline creates a pasta-like mess for the Postal Service and voters to navigate.
“Postmark is important, postmark is not important…. Delivery problem, delivery after a day does not matter. Why can’t there be a set of rules? “It takes someone to explore the system to make sure it works better for American voters,” said Sullivan.
Spencer Hsu contributed to this report.