After a record surge of mail-in voting, a federal judge is demanding to know why the postal service disobeyed his order to sweep processing facilities for 300,000 missing mail-in ballots nationwide on Election Day.
Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan ordered, even more, sweeps in Texas, including three mail processing plants in North Texas.
In Dallas, two sweeps Wednesday afternoon turned up a total of 35 mail-in ballots.
In Coppell, 89 were found.
In Fort Worth, workers located 323 ballots according to a court filing late Wednesday.
Across Texas, sweeps at 14 facilities turned up a total of 815 mail-in ballots.
The latest news from around North Texas.
If you think the numbers don't make a difference, just ask former state representative Rodney Anderson who won his 2016 race by just 64 votes.
“They can absolutely make a difference,” said Anderson, who is now the chairman of the Dallas County Republican Party.
According to state law, mail-in ballots must be postmarked by election day but had to be delivered to election boards by close of business Wednesday.
“I think it is concerning anytime that legally-cast ballots are put in a position where they're not counted, whether that is a post office error, whether that is an elections dept error,” said Anderson.
Wednesday, the U.S. Postal Service said:
“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.”
The USPS said postal inspectors have already been conducting daily reviews at all 220 facilities that process ballots.
The hundreds of ballots found in Texas are reportedly in the hands of election boards after a rush delivery to ensure no ballot is left behind.
This year, 157 million people voted by mail and in-person. That's 65% of all voters which is the highest rate in a century.