“I agree the postmaster is either going to have to be deposed or testify before me under oath,” Judge Emmet Sullivan of the Washington, DC, district court said.
Sullivan, according to CNN, was angered when the Postal Service missed a deadline he had set for Tuesday that required mail inspectors to look for ballots in 12 postal facilities in key swing states.
About 7 percent of ballots — roughly 300,000 — in USPS sorting facilities were not processed in time for distribution to election officials on Election Day, the agency said in a court filing, the Washington Post reported.
A court filing by the USPS said that in Philadelphia alone, 33.7 percent of mail-in ballots were not delivered to election offices on Election Day.
Attorneys representing the USPS said inspectors were unable to conduct the sweeps because they would have disrupted other postal duties.
“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,” the lawyers wrote.
The Postal Service also said it had already conducted rounds of morning checks at all its processing hubs. Further, the agency said it has been performing daily reviews of all 220 facilities handling election mail and planned another sweep hours before polling places closed Tuesday.
Sullivan threatened that “someone may have a price to pay about that.”
“It’s your clients,” Sullivan told a lawyer for the USPS. “I am concerned about your clients, each and every one starting at the top of the food chain.”
The judge accepted the agency’s response but set a Wednesday hearing “to discuss the apparent lack of compliance with the court’s order.”
In addition, Sullivan had given the agency until Tuesday afternoon to search 27 facilities in several battleground areas for outstanding ballots and send out those votes immediately.
DeJoy appeared before the House Oversight Committee in August to testify about cost-cutting measures he instituted — like removing mail sorting machines from post offices — that Democrats said were an attempt to hinder processing the vote.
Critics argued that changes made to Postal Service operations by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, an ally of and campaign donor to President Donald Trump who took up the post earlier this year, had slowed the mail with the possib
More than 100 million Americans voted by mail this year because of coronavirus cautions.