(FreedomJournal.org)- The United States Postal Service must undertake some “extraordinary measures” to improve the speed of ballot processing in many key states that the agency revealed last week.
Federal judge Emmet Sullivan ruled on Sunday that the USPS must utilize its Express Mail network for any ballot that must travel a long distance, even after Election Day. Express Mail guarantees either one- or two-day delivery.
Ballots that remain local must be processed and then delivered to the local post office the same day they arrive, or at the latest by the next morning, according to Sullivan’s ruling.
The USPS was required to send a memo to all division directors and processing plant managers by 9 p.m. local time Sunday night notifying them that the extraordinary measures “must be put in place to ensure we deliver every ballot possible by the cutoff time on Election Day.”
All processing plant managers also have to certify that local ballots have been sent to either a local post office or local election office by 10 a.m. local time on both Monday and Tuesday. They also must certify that they’re using the Express Mail network for the ballots and are quickly delivering those local ballots.
In four states, the USPS must issue “targeted written communication, and make all reasonable efforts to orally covey” to division directors and plant managers that ballots need to be processed before the deadline that they need to arrive at election offices by on November 3. Three of those states are battleground states North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Minnesota, and the fourth is New Jersey.
In underperforming districts, the USPS has to attempt to “convey orally” the mandates to both supervisors and managers. This includes in states such as Pennsylvania, Michigan, Texas and North Carolina.
The USPS was also required to send a memo to all local post offices by 9 a.m. local time that every ballot must be postmarked. This is especially important this election year, as some states are allowing late-arriving ballots to be counted, as long as they are postmarked by Election Day.
These requirements came as court filings showed the USPS moved fewer ballots on time in many battleground states than it did the day before. This happened for three straight days prior to Sullivan’s ruling on Sunday.
The USPS processing score dropped to 91% on Saturday from 93% on Friday, according to documents filed in US District Court. These scores have been on a steady decline since Wednesday of last week. On that day, the USPS reported moving 97% of all ballots on time.
In some of the battleground states, court filings found that the USPS had scores below 90%. These scores not only didn’t get better in some of the states as the election has drawn closer, but some have gotten worse, too.
The fight over ballots throughout the country, and the USPS’ role in moving mail-in ballots, has been an ongoing fight. And it looks like it will continue to be so through and potentially even after Election Day.