The Postal Service said Wednesday that it completed court-ordered ballot checks late Tuesday after missing a deadline earlier in the day to process around 300,000 ballots that had not been delivered to election offices.
“I can confirm that we completed the required sweeps for ballots yesterday,” Postal Service spokesperson Martha Johnson said in an email to The Hill.
But the sweep was completed hours after the 3 p.m. deadline imposed by U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan, a Clinton appointee who said Tuesday that it appeared the Postal Service had failed to comply with his order, adding that the matter would be discussed at a court hearing Wednesday afternoon.
Sullivan gave the agency until 3 p.m. on Tuesday to scour facilities for ballots in regions with sluggish delivery times so they could deliver them to election officials. The Postal Service said the deadline was too difficult to meet.
“Given the time constraints set by this court’s order, and the fact that Postal Inspectors operate on a nationwide basis, 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, something which defendants did not understand the court to invite or require,” it wrote in a court filing.
The order included areas covering states like Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Texas.
Each of those states, with the exception of Pennsylvania and Texas, require mail ballots to be received by the time polls closed on Election Day, meaning late-arriving ballots would not be counted.
--Updated at 1:28 p.m.