DeJoy may have to testify about US Postal Services not complying with mail-in ballot order

U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan was 'shocked' that DeJoy and the US Postal Service did not honor his order to search for unaccounted mail-in ballots

A federal judge has ruled that Postmaster General Louis DeJoy may have to testify over the U.S. Postal Service missing a court-ordered deadline that mail-in ballots be swept at facilities and counted.

U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan declared on Wednesday that he was “shocked” that his previous order was not followed, Bloomberg reports. Sullivan has now ruled that DeJoy will have to be deposed or appear before him to account for the USPS not implementing his edict.

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy
Postmaster General Louis DeJoy testifies during a hearing before the House Oversight and Reform Committee on August 24, 2020 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. (Photo by Tom Williams-Pool/Getty Images)

“At some point, the postmaster is either going to have to be deposed or appear before me and testify under oath,” Sullivan said. “The court has been very clear that it expects full compliance” with its orders.

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An attorney for the Justice Department faulted time constraints as to the reason why Sullivan’s order was not abided by.

“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 12:30 pm to 3:00 pm without significantly disrupting preexisting activities on the day of the Election, something which Defendants did not understand the Court to invite or require,” John Robinson wrote for the Justice Department.

The use of mail-in ballots became a contentious one in the run-up to the Nov. 3 election. The coronavirus forced many to rely on the method. However, President Donald Trump repeatedly blasted mail-in ballots as being fraudulent, without evidence, and DeJoy was accused of slowing down the mail in order to help the president win re-election.

theGrio reported on Tuesday that Sullivan ordered on Election Day that the USPS search for unaccounted ballots in their facilities and process them to make sure they were on time for delivery. Nearly 300,000 ballots could not be traced nationwide, especially in battleground states such as Michigan and Pennsylvania. He had given the agency until 3 p.m. on Tuesday to “ensure that no ballots have been held up.”

Judge Emmet G. Sullivan USPS
(Credit: Judge Emmet G. Sullivan/ Getty Images)

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However, data from USPS showed that mailed in ballots missed the necessary deadlines on Tuesday. The Washington Post reported that 115,630 ballots were processed by USPS on election, a much lower margin than in recent days.

The delays in mail being delivered compelled the NAACP and other civil rights groups to file suit against the USPS.

“We know yesterday that if the sweeps were doing their job, mail that was identified as ballots and were in the system should have been pulled out and delivered, and it may be that affects what we see as the scores,” said Allison Zieve, an attorney representing the NAACP told the Washington Post.

“The problem is, in part because of the timing and in part because they haven’t given us all the information we asked for, it’s hard to know whether the numbers we saw today — the low scores for example in Atlanta and Central Pennsylvania — it’s hard to assess how big a problem that is.”

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