In a last-minute move to ensure mail ballots are delivered in time for the election, a federal judge has ordered the U.S. Postal Service to rescind guidelines that slowed mail delivery over the summer and boost the numbers of late and extra truck trips.
The nationwide order from Judge Emmet G. Sullivan of the District of Columbia comes as new data show that on-time mail delivery in some parts of the country has dropped to levels lower than in July, when millions of Americans went days, even weeks, without mail. Ballots arriving late could disenfranchise thousands of voters in this election cycle in states with strict ballot deadlines, data show.
Some states with tight deadlines have seen a deterioration of on-time delivery this year, including the battleground states of Georgia, South Carolina and Florida. The Postal Service delivered 83.76% of first-class mail on time in that region in mid-July, a rate that sank to 82.69% the week of Oct. 10, according to the Postal Service. Normal performance is around 92.4%.
The Postal Service told voters in August that the agency could not guarantee on-time delivery for any ballots mailed later than the Tuesday before election day.
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