U.S. Postal Service Response to U.S. District Court Order

Nov. 5, 2020

On Nov. 4, the United States Postal Service filed further formal responses to the Nov. 3, 2020 U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia Order. These responses are available here: 11.4.2020 USPS DDC Filings.

Additionally, the Postal Service provided clarification on assertions in the order of unaccounted-for ballots and issued the following statement regarding completed Election Day facility sweeps.


“The assumption that there are unaccounted ballots within the Postal Service network is inaccurate. These ballots were delivered in advance of the election deadlines. We employed extraordinary measures to deliver ballots directly to local boards of elections. When this occurs, by design, these ballots bypass certain processing operations and do not receive a final scan. Instead, they are expedited directly to the boards of elections. We remain in close contact with state and local boards of elections and we do not currently have any open issues. Additionally, the Postal Inspection Service has physically inspected all plants that process ballots.

We will continue to accept, process and deliver ballots as they are entered into the network.”


“On November 3, 2020, the Postal Service conducted regular sweeps at all our processing and retail facilities to ensure that all ballots were accounted for and being processed correctly at all its plants and that no ballots were left behind. Additionally, the Postal Inspection Service conducted inspections in the 220 mail processing facilities across the country that handle Election Mail.

These sweeps included searching the facility to be sure no ballots were in any unexpected locations as well as identifying ballots in the mailstream that are not moving with sufficient speed.  Sweeps were not limited to the interior of the plant and encompasses the surrounding area, including the docks and any trailers that might contain mail. Among other things, Inspection Services sweeps searched holding and non-holding areas for Election Mail, scanned for delayed mail, and ensured that Election Mail was processed expeditiously. Any deficiencies were identified and reported to management for resolution.

During the last days of the election, when all ballots must be dispatched from plants under the extraordinary measures undertaken by the Postal Service, all ballots retrieved during sweeps were expedited through whatever means are necessary to ensure they are delivered in time to be counted, assuming that it is physically possible.

Sweeps conducted by the Postal Inspection Service were carried out in plants across the country, including plants located in the Central Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Detroit, Colorado/Wyoming, Atlanta, Houston, Alabama, Northern New England, Greater South Carolina, South Florida, Lakeland, and Arizona districts. During the sweeps in these districts, 13 ballots were retrieved and were quickly delivered to their intended destination.”