A federal judge earlier on Tuesday ordered Postmaster General Louis DeJoy to have postal inspectors sweep USPS facilities and find 300,000 election ballots across the country that have been scanned into the postal system but not delivered to election authorities.
If the ballots are not delivered today, Election Day, in most cases they will not be counted.
DeJoy has just said he was “unable” to meet the judge’s order to have the ballots located and processed by 3 PM, he said. Instead of displaying any sense of seriousness about the ballots or his job performance, he offered up a stunning response.
In short, DeJoy, through his USPS attorneys, told Judge Emmet Sullivan that they couldn’t meet the deadline because doing so would have disrupted postal inspectors’ other work. As if on Election Day there is anything more important than getting all ballots delivered so they can be counted.
But not only did he say they were just too busy to meet the judge’s orders, they didn’t realize, he claims, the judge had put the deadline in place.
“Defendants were unable to accelerate the daily review process to run from 12:30pm to 3:00pm, without significantly disrupting preexisting activities on the day of the Election,” the USPS said in its response to the Judge, adding the deadline was something they “did not understand the Court to invite or require.”
BREAKING: USPS fails to meet deadline set by U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan to sweep facilities and immediately deliver remaining mail ballots. As of this week, USPS said there were some 300,000 ballots that lacked a delivery scan pic.twitter.com/5ODluNmk0Z
— John Kruzel (@johnkruzel) November 3, 2020
DeJoy also said: “There are only one or two Inspectors in any one facility, and thus they do not have the ability to personally scour the entire facility. Indeed, doing so would be impractical (given the size of that facility) and would take them away from their other pressing Election Mail-related responsibilities, as detailed above.”
One of the nation’s preeminent voting rights experts, Ari Berman, said minutes ago, “Louis DeJoy should be held in contempt of court & face criminal charges for obstructing an election if these ballots are not delivered on time.”
Mail delays got worse closer to election, at same time GOP courts gave voters less time to return ballots. This is unconscionable https://t.co/xgsEYw3Qnw
— Ari Berman (@AriBerman) November 3, 2020
Election law expert Rick Hasen:
— Rick Hasen (@rickhasen) November 3, 2020
Former federal prosecutor Glenn Kirschner, now an NBC News and MSNBC legal analyst:
Please read: Judge Emmet Sullivan ORDERED a full “sweep” of postal facilities, ORDERED the delivery of all ballots and ORDERED the “defendants” – that would be Louis DeJoy and company – to certify that “NO BALLOTS WERE LEFT BEHIND.” Let’s remember these words from Judge Sullivan. pic.twitter.com/V2x3xZcMQg
— Glenn Kirschner (@glennkirschner2) November 3, 2020