A federal judge on Wednesday criticized US Postmaster General Louis DeJoy for the Postal Service’s failure to comply with his order to search ballots at more than a dozen establishments, demanding that senior officials at the agency testify in court.
At the hearing, U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan in the District of Columbia called the USPS for refusing to comply with its court order to perform last-minute scans in light of 300,000 ballots. vote not found reported by the agency. Sullivan said DeJoy should have to testify under oath about the agency’s non-compliance with the agency, although later accepted hear testimony from Kevin Bray, who heads mail processing for USPS, Wednesday afternoon.
“I’m not happy with this 11th Hour development last night and someone may have a price to pay,” Sullivan said, before specifically stating that the agency’s problems start “at the top of the food chain. “.
Sullivan later stated that DeJoy “is going to have to be deposed or appear before me and testify under oath as to why certain steps were not taken.” I will not forget it.
The Postal Service revealed on Wednesday that it completed the sweeps Tuesday night and presented just 13 ballots in Pennsylvania. The announcement comes after the USPS reported that more than 300,000 ballots scanned in their mail system had never been sent for delivery, sounding alarm bells over hundreds of thousands of ballots that could potentially have gone missing. submission deadlines in several states.
“We knew yesterday that if the sweepers were doing their job, the mail identified as ballots and in the system should have been picked up and delivered, and that can affect what we consider to be the scores,” Allison said. Zieve, an attorney representing the NAACP, who has filed a lawsuit against the Postal Service along with other militant groups, said the Washington post.
“The problem is, partly because of the timing and partly because they didn’t give us all the information we asked for, it’s hard to know if the numbers we saw today – the low scores for example in Atlanta and central Pennsylvania – it is difficult to assess the extent of the problem. “
According to VICE News, there are reasonable explanations for the shipment discrepancies that the USPS has repeatedly explained in court documents. The outlet notes that in its daily reports on delivery statistics, the USPS maintains that the data “has little or no analytical value and should not be taken as a reliable indicator of performance.”
In short, the Postal Service intentionally makes its performance worse in the short term by removing ballots from the normal sorting and delivery process in an effort to deliver them faster.
Some postal workers also manually postmark the ballots before passing them off as first-class local delivery, which means the ballots are never scanned in the first place, VICE reported. Other measures to speed up the process, such as sending ballots for sorting before deleting them after scanning, also means manually bypassing the final scan number that triggered the alarm.
A Postal Service insider also told The Daily Beast that in general, on-time delivery expectations for first-class mail – like ballots – are considered good if they are 93 percent on-time, which has not happened since the start of the pandemic. in March. However, if the postal service drops below 88%, officials start to worry and postal inspectors begin an investigation.
Lawyers for the Postal Service said on Tuesday the agency refused to conduct the sweep because it would have “significantly” disrupted “pre-existing activities on election day.” Instead, USPS said it would continue the pre-planned review process of its 220 facilities across the country that process postal votes – and try to deliver any remaining ballots.
“The court has made it clear that it expects full compliance,” Sullivan insisted Wednesday. “I was equally shocked to learn that nothing else was done after the injunction was issued.
But USPS spokesman David Partenheimer said in an email to Bloomberg News Wednesday that “last night’s scans were carried out as planned.
In a court filing on Wednesday, Daniel Brubaker of the Postal Inspection Service said his agency carried out sweeps in the 12 postal districts Sullivan ordered them to check for missing ballots. Brubaker pointed out that out of all these facilities, they found only three ballots in Johnston, Pa., And 10 in Lancaster, Pa. All of these ballots have been “dispatched by management for delivery” and will be counted in accordance with state voting laws.
Among Postal Service insiders, there is frustration with DeJoy’s leadership and performance, even after three different courts stepped in to force the USPS to prioritize election mail.
An Oct. 20 memo from the postal service management promised “extraordinary measures” to ensure the integrity of the vote. Among them was the creation of a command center to alleviate the confusion of postal operations and the requirement to add an additional stamped date on voting envelopes to ensure that electoral councils would have no doubts about the validity of a ballot paper by mail. Postal customers, however, had to specifically request this additional step.
A Postal Union official who requested anonymity said the allegedly extraordinary measures were “too little too late to undo the damage” of DeJoy’s decisions such as removing some mail sorting machines or a pipe-dreaming push to force trucks to leave depots at set times, whether trucks had mail on them. “It makes no difference 13 days before the election,” the official said, except to increase confusion among customers and postal workers who were already overwhelmed by the coronavirus pandemic.
“I don’t think they messed up the election,” the official added, “but they didn’t help the election.”
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