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Post office ordered to search for undelivered ballots in Houston

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Posted at 3:15 PM, Nov 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-03 16:15:02-05

A U.S. district judge has ordered U.S. Postal Service inspectors to sweep mail facilities in Houston, along with a number of other areas across the country, looking for mail-in ballots that have not yet been delivered.

Judge Emmet Sullivan wrote that all remaining mail-in ballots found in postal facilities must be sent out for delivery, and said he wants a status update by 3:30 Central time confirming “the sweeps were conducted and no ballots were left behind.”

On Sunday, Sullivan ordered USPS to require offices to use “extraordinary measures” and increase resources to deliver mail-in ballots on time, according to the Washington Post.

The Washington, D.C.-based judge is overseeing ongoing litigation about postal service policy changes under the Trump administration that have led to complaints of slowed mail and delayed ballots. His series of orders comes after USPS delays caused concerns over mail-in ballots being delivered on time. Houston has “consistently underperformed on ballot mail or have not properly reported ballot mail-handling practices,” according to the Washington Post.

In Texas, mail-in ballots will be counted if postmarked by Election Day and received by local elections offices no later that Wednesday.