The presidential election is headed to court. The Trump administration has erratically called for the counting of votes to cease, and also has demanded recounts in key states, even though mail-in ballots remain to be added to election total. Currently, the counting continues and the lawsuits are just getting underway. Former Vice President and Democratic candidate Joe Biden now holds a significant lead, and has effectively won with some certainty, but the election isn’t settled.
Earlier this week, headlines hit the press about USPS and their role in the election. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy has been the center of controversy after failing to comply with U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan’s orders to implement overseers of processing facilities to find and deliver mail-in ballots in a timely manner.
The USPS had said in a court document that ‘300,000 ballots had been scanned into facilities but not scanned out’, and instead suggested they have been misplaced. This type of negligence is a key factor into why the American people are still waiting for mail-in ballots to be accounted for in order to determine a final result for the 2020 presidential election.
This type of error is a reoccurring theme for USPS, as the performance of the postal service and its ability to handle the huge surge in mail-in ballots has been at issue for months in congressional hearings and various lawsuits. Voter groups questioned whether ballots would be delivered on time given the global pandemic, cost-cutting measures proposed by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy and the surge in mail-in ballots.
Rebuking such claims, the postal service on Wednesday said “the assumption that there are unaccounted ballots within the Postal Service network is inaccurate.” To save time, ballots were delivered directly to elections’ officials and bypassed the scanners that normally track the mail, postal service spokeswoman Martha Johnson said Wednesday.
“We remain in close contact with state and local boards of elections and we do not currently have any open issues. Additionally, the Postal Inspection Service has physically inspected all plants that process ballots.”
Instead of complying with Sullivan’s order, the USPS kept to its own schedule, raising concerns that tens of thousands of ballots would not be delivered in time to be counted. “It just leaves a bad taste in everyone’s mouth for the clock to run out — game’s over — and then to find out there was no compliance with a very important court order,” Sullivan said. The District Judge then suggested he would demand a deposition from Postmaster General Louis DeJoy.
Additionally worth noting is that there were 81,000 untraced ballots spread across postal districts in key swing states with a combined 151 electoral votes, The Washington Post reports. according to its analysis, the missing ballots “are unlikely to affect the outcome of the presidential race.”
Whether or not this massive hiccup in the federal mailing system is causing objective harm to the outcome of the election, the extra time being taken to account for and then count missing ballots is allowing the Trump administration to sow further doubt into the electoral process, claiming a variety of versions of fraud. The longer it takes for the remaining key swing states to finish their counting of votes, the deeper the divide of the nation grows, waiting for a final result and closure as to who the next president will ultimately be.