The Virginia Democratic Party on Friday filed a lawsuit against the US Postal Service accusing it of failing to deliver and process election-related materials ahead of next week’s gubernatorial election, CNN reports.
The delays are "threatening to disenfranchise thousands of Virginia voters" in several Virginia counties, the lawsuit says, with delays in the Charlottesville and Norfolk areas that are “particularly egregious.”
"Thousands of ballots delivered to postal facilities by the general registrars weeks ago are still outstanding and, weeks later, have not yet even been scanned into USPS's system. Even if these voters do eventually receive their ballots before Election Day, the slowdowns promise that they will not have sufficient time to send them back with assurance that they will arrive in time to be counted," the lawsuit says. "And even if a ballot reaches the appropriate election official before the receipt deadline, if the official identifies any issues with it that require remediation before it may be counted, the voter will have run out of time to rectify the problem."
USPS pushes back:
"The Postal Service has a robust and tested process for the proper handling and timely delivery of Election Mail. Our Election Mail processes and procedures are fully operational in Virginia. We are not aware of any processing delays of any ballots within our facilities nor any ballot delivery delays, and we have fully communicated this information to election officials," a USPS spokesperson told CNN.
"Throughout the election cycle we work closely with state and local election officials and have been addressing any concerns that they raise. Daily sweeps are being conducted in all our Virginia facilities," the statement said, noting its commitment to "fulfilling our important role in the electoral process as a secure, efficient and effective way for citizens to participate when policymakers decide to use mail as part of their election system."
Virginia was one of more than a dozen states to sue the USPS last year, accusing Postmaster General Louis DeJoy of making changes that slowed the delivery of mail ballots.
The USPS more recently implemented new standards that include cuts to post office hours and longer first-class mail delivery times.
The Virginia Democratic Party alleges that thousands of unscanned ballots in three counties make up more than 25% of all requested ballots.
The average statewide percentage of unscanned ballots is at around 10%.