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Postal Service Ordered to Speed Swing-State Ballots to Make Election Day

November 3, 2020by Erik Larson, Bloomberg News
Mail trucks outside the Hicksville Post Office in New York. (Photo by Dan McCue)

WASHINGTON — A federal judge ordered the U.S. Postal Service to make every effort to deliver mail-in ballots in three crucial swing states by Election Day due to uncertainty over whether votes that arrive after that will be counted.

U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan in Washington on Sunday ordered the USPS to send notices to managers “reiterating the importance of processing all election ballots” in Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Minnesota by Nov. 3 because the states’ extended deadlines may be overturned.

“To reiterate, all efforts should first be made to ensure the return of completed ballots by the Election Day deadline,” the notice says. “It is possible, but not certain, that ballots returned” at later dates “will be counted (if postmarked by Election Day or lacking a postmark).”

Sullivan also ordered the USPS to ensure that through at least Nov. 7 all mail-in ballots are cleared and processed by local facilities the same day they arrive “or no later than the next morning.”

Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Minnesota are among several pivotal states with legal clashes over ballot deadlines, an issue that may become crucial if the race between Donald Trump and Joe Biden is close.

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(c)2020 Bloomberg News

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

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