VIRGINIA, USA — Days before the high-profile race for Virginia's next governor, a new lawsuit has put a spotlight on the United States Postal Service.
The suit, filed by the Democratic Party of Virginia last Friday, alleges "significant delays" in election and voter mail across the Commonwealth.
It claims "thousands of absentee ballots currently sit at postal facilities" across the state, and that the USPS has not yet scanned them into the system.
In three specific areas, the lawsuit alleges the delays are "egregious": the City of Portsmouth, James City County and Albemarle County (which covers the surrounding Charlottesville area).
According to the lawsuit: there are more than 1,000 un-scanned ballots in both JCC and Portsmouth, 1,115 and 1,021, respectively. Democrats allege this makes up roughly a quarter of the ballots requested for these areas.
Alexandra Reid, with Portsmouth's General Registrar and Director of Elections, emailed a statement to 13News Now which says:
"ALL ballots received daily by our office are entered into the Virginia Election and Registration System."
Dianna Moorman, the Director of Elections and General Registrar in James City County, called the delay issue an "anomaly":
All ballots that we have an application for have been issued and we have, to date, received over 60% of the USPS/email issued ballots back from the voters. This percentage is consistent with localities across the state.
The lawsuit cites four actions it'd like the courts to take:
- Order Defendants to prioritize and expedite delivery of election-related mail, and require them to deliver all election mail within Virginia by no later than three days after its entry into the USPS system
- Order Defendants to process all outstanding election mail in Albemarle, James City, and Portsmouth Counties within 24 hours
- Award Plaintiffs their costs, expenses, and reasonable attorneys’ fees
- Grant such other and further relief as the Court deems just, proper, and equitable.
But in a written statement from the USPS, a spokesman responded to the lawsuit claims:
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.
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 United States Postal Service is fully committed 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.