'Someone may have to pay a price' for USPS's refusal to sweep for ballots, judge says

Kathryn Krawczyk

The United States Postal Service refused to listen to U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan, and he isn't happy about it.

After the USPS revealed more than 300,000 ballots had entered postal processing plants but subsequently failed to receive "exit scans," indicating they might have been misplaced within the mail system, Sullivan ordered the Postal Service to perform a final sweep for those ballots. But the USPS said Tuesday night it wouldn't follow Sullivan's order in time to ensure the ballots in 15 critical states were accounted for before polls closed.

In a hearing Wednesday morning, a Department of Justice attorney representing the USPS told Sullivan it was "not operationally possible" to conduct the sweep, but that the USPS plants did try their best to ensure "ballots were expedited as quickly as possible."

But Sullivan wasn't standing for the USPS's "11th hour" decision not to comply, he said. "Someone may have to pay a price for that," Sullivan said, namely Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, a Trump appointee who has come under fire for mismanagement ahead of an election expecting an unprecedented number of absentee ballots. "The postmaster's going to have to be deposed or appear before me. I'm not going to forget it," he added.

Sullivan and the DOJ lawyer then set up a 1:30 p.m. EST testimony from Kevin Bray, the head of mail processing for the USPS.

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