A U.S. District judge has ordered the U.S. Postal Service to step up their game as Election Day is now less than a week away. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy was ordered to immediately begin expanding mail delivery with later deliveries and extra trips after USPS performance dipped in recent days.
On-time delivery of first-class mail dropped below 70% this week, down more than 6 percentage points from previous days, according to court documents filed on Wednesday.
U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan granted an emergency request to enforce and monitor compliance with an earlier injunction he had ordered. “USPS personnel are instructed to perform late and extra trips to the maximum extent necessary to increase on-time mail deliveries, particularly for election mail,” Sullivan said. “To be clear, late and extra trips should be performed to the same or greater degree than they were performed prior to July 2020 when doing so would increase on-time mail deliveries.”
USPS spokesman Dave Partenheimer released a statement saying that the Postal Service is complying with the court order and is taking its legal obligations “very seriously.” Partenheimer went on to say, “We are deploying extraordinary measures — expedited handling, extra deliveries and special pickups — consistent with practices used in past elections to accelerate the delivery of ballots to their intended destination.”
The judge also alerted the USPS that he wants daily updates by the USPS on its use of late trips.
Mail delivery has become a popular target on both sides of the political aisle as the pandemic has led to a surge of mail in voting and current laws that require votes to be counted by Election Day.