Federal judge in Yakima orders USPS to perform nightly sweeps for ballots

Federal judge in Yakima orders USPS to perform nightly sweeps for ballots

Chief U.S. District Judge Stanley Bastian has ordered the United States Postal Service to perform nightly sweeps for ballots in areas where delivery has slowed.

It comes after Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson went to court, leading a multistate lawsuit, asking that the Postal Service deliver ballots on time, ensuring every vote gets counted ahead of Election Day.

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“Every vote must be counted,” Ferguson said. “Our democracy depends on it.”

After recent controversial cutbacks by the Postal Service, delivery times drastically slowed in a number of swing states, including Michigan and Wisconsin, where the latest numbers indicated 30% of ballot delivery was behind schedule.

In September, Ferguson won an injunction. And since then, election mail delivery has improved, except for some swing states.

“The reported data still show that the Postal Service is failing to timely deliver a significant number of trackable ballots, and that such ballots remain undelivered to voters or will not be delivered to elections officials in time to be counted,” Ferguson wrote in his request last night for the hearing.

As for the order, Bastian, an appointee of former President Barack Obama, said that starting Sunday and continuing through Nov. 10, the Postal Service must report to his court the prior day’s “all clear” status for each facility and processing center in the Detroit area and a district covering most of Wisconsin.

If the Postal Service identifies any incoming ballots in its “all clear” sweeps of these facilities, it must make every effort to deliver those ballots by 8 p.m. local time on Election Day, including by using Priority Mail Express or other extraordinary measures, Bastian said.