After conducting internal sweeps, the United States Postal Service (USPS) discovered over 2,000 more mail-in ballots for Pennsylvania and North Carolina on Thursday. D.C. Federal District Judge Emmet Sullivan ordered twice-daily postal center sweeps after a reported 300,000 ballots were reported as undelivered.
Workers accrued about 40,000 mail-in ballots altogether by Thursday – 150,000 were discovered Wednesday. Postal leaders confirmed that more mail-in ballots were processed on Wednesday than on Election Day.
Workers discovered nearly 1,700 ballots for Pennsylvania, and about 500 for North Carolina. Friday’s final sweeps trickled in a handful more mail-in ballots.
A week before the election, election experts warned voters to cease sending in mail-in ballots due to USPS delays. In September, the USPS sent out a recommendation to mail ballots at least one week prior to Election Day.
It appears that a collective surge of voters mailing their ballots in last-minute caused the delay.
Congressman Mike Kelly (R-PA-16), state Representative Joseph Hamm (R-Lycoming County), and four other plaintiffs sued Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar. During an address just before Halloween, Boockvar said they’d “cure” rejected mail-in ballots with provisional ballots.
The Republican plaintiffs argued that voters with rejected mail-in ballots shouldn’t have received provisional ballots on Election Day. A judge denied much of the suit on Friday. However, the judge ruled that officials must set aside provisional ballots submitted by voters who requested mail-in ballots.
Further issues arose with allegations of election staff taking a day off when there were about 35,000 ballots left to count. However, it was clarified that no breaks occurred – staff couldn’t count those ballots for reasons including a court order, “sufficiency issues,” or improper scanning.
Pennsylvania may count mail-in ballots received by Friday if postmarked by Election Day. North Carolina also requires mail-in ballots to be postmarked by Election Day, but will accept them until November 12.
For more election coverage, read our exclusive compilations from The Tennessee Star here.
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Corinne Murdock is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and the Star News Network. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to [email protected].