For the fifth day in a row, the US Postal Service moved fewer ballots on-time in critical battleground states than it did in the previous day, according to new court filings.
Five of the states with low processing scores — Michigan, Wisconsin, Georgia, New Hampshire and Maine — do not allow ballots to arrive after Election Day.
The continued drops in performance mean ballots are now at significant risk of not arriving to election offices in time to be counted. In more than half of the states, mail-in ballots will not count if they arrive after polls close.
A higher processing score means that a higher percentage of ballots are traveling through the mail system on time.
The Postal Service said that on a national level, it moved fewer ballots on time on Sunday and Monday than on Friday, with the service’s overall processing score dropping from 91% to 90%. Scores have been steadily declining since Wednesday, when USPS reported it moved 97% of ballots on time.
The Postal Service reported that it moved at least 740,864 ballots on Sunday and Monday.
Some critical battlegrounds states are still experiencing a drop in processing scores below 90%.
Just 52% of the Atlanta district’s ballots, and 69% of ballots in wide swaths of North Carolina moved on-time on Sunday and Monday, the USPS reported. The two districts had the lowest processing scores in the US.
Fewer than than 80% of ballots in Pennsylvania and Ohio were moved on time, with Central Pennsylvania and the Ohio Valley sinking into the low 70s. Michigan, Wisconsin, New Hampshire and Maine all had processing scores well below the 90% mark.
These figures do not include ballots being returned through what USPS calls “local turnaround.” That’s the process USPS says some post offices have implemented, where ballots are being delivered directly to local boards of election — they are postmarked, but don’t go through normal mail processing.
USPS has reiterated that the delays are largely due to staffing shortages due to Covid-19.
To fix the issues, USPS has provided “multiple layers of operational oversight,” is coordinating closely with the USPS inspector general, and has been holding daily troubleshooting calls with problem areas.