Nov. 5 (UPI) -- A federal judge in Washington, D.C., on Thursday ordered the U.S. Postal Service to conduct twice daily sweeps of facilities for mail-in ballots in states where they can still legally be delivered and counted.
Judge Emmet Sullivan ordered that "all USPS processing facilities that serve a state with an extended ballot receipt deadline" perform sweeps each morning before 10 a.m. and again in the midafternoon to ensure ballots can be delivered to election officials that day.
"Upon completing a sweep, each facility shall report to USPS Headquarters the total number of ballots identified and confirm that those ballots have been expedited for delivery to meet applicable extended state deadlines," Sullivan said.
In court documents on Thursday, the USPS said that at least 150,000 ballots likely reached election officials on Wednesday past the deadline for them to be counted in as many as 28 states.
Among those ballots were more than 12,000 in five of the states that have yet to be called in favor either President Donald Trump or former Vice President Joe Biden in the race for president.
Thursday's order came after Sullivan said he was "shocked" at the behavior of the USPS and accused the agency of delaying responses to his orders.
On Tuesday, the judge called on the agency to do a thorough sweep of 12 postal districts in 15 states to ensure that all ballots were delivered to elections officials as soon as possible but the USPS said it would not comply with the order as that sweep would delay the previously scheduled daily review process.
Sullivan said that Postmaster General Louis DeJoy would have to "at some point" be deposed or testify before the federal court under oath.