For the fifth day in a row, the U.S. Postal Service moved fewer ballots on time in critical battlefield states than the previous day, according to a new court filing.
Five states with the lowest processing scores – Michigan, Wisconsin, Georgia, New Hampshire and Maine – will not allow ballots to arrive after Election Day.
The decline in performance means that ballots are now at risk of not reaching election offices by the time they are counted. In more than half of the states, mail-in ballots are not counted if they arrive after the polls close.
A higher processing score means that a higher percentage of ballots travel through the mail system on time.
At the national level, fewer ballots were moved on Sunday and Monday than on Friday, and the postal service said the service’s overall processing score dropped from 91% to 90%. Scores have been steadily declining since Wednesday, with USPS reporting 97% of ballots moved on time.
The Postal Service reported that at least 740,864 ballots were moved on Sunday and Monday.
Some critical battlefield states are still dropping to less than 90% in processing scores.
The USPS reported that only 52% of Atlanta district ballots, and North Carolina’s vast 69% of ballots went by Sunday and Monday. Both districts have the lowest processing scores in the US.
With Central Pennsylvania and the Ohio Valley sinking in the 70s, less than 80% of the ballots in Pennsylvania and Ohio were moved by time. Michigan, Wisconsin, New Hampshire and Maine all had their processing scores below the 90% mark.
Ballots called USPS “Local Turnaround” in these figures will not be returned. This is the process by which USPS says some post offices have implemented ballots where they are delivered directly to local election boards – they are postmarked, but do not go through regular mail processing.
USPS reiterated that the delay was due to staff shortages due to Kovid-19.
To resolve issues, USPS has provided “multiple layers of operational monitoring”, coordinating closely with the USPS Inspector General and conducting daily troubleshooting calls with problem areas.