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Containers of mail-in ballots in Reading, Pa., on June 3. Photo: Ben Hasty/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images

The U.S. Postal Service told Pennsylvania officials in a July letter that "there is a significant risk" that mail-in ballots may not be delivered on time for the November election because the state’s election deadlines are "incongruous with the Postal Service's delivery standards," according to a Thursday court filing.

Why it matters: The letter comes as President Trump has repeatedly attacked mail-in voting and vowed that he will block demands to fund mail-in voting and the USPS, claiming without evidence that the ballots produce widespread voter fraud.

The big picture: Pennsylvania's Department of State submitted the filing containing the letter to the state Supreme Court, asking it to order that mail-in ballots will remain countable as long as election officials receive them up to three days after the election, the Philadelphia Inquirer first reported.

  • The results of the presidential race in Pennsylvania, a battleground state, may not be known for days after Nov. 3 if the court agrees to issue the order.

What they're saying: Thomas Marshall, general counsel and executive vice president for the Postal Service, sent the letter to Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar on July 29.

  • In it, Marshall writes that "under our reading of Pennsylvania's election laws, certain deadlines for requesting and casting mail-in ballots are incongruous with the Postal Service's delivery standards."
  • "This mismatch creates a risk that ballots requested near the deadline under state law will not be returned by mail in time to be counted under your laws as we understand them."

The other side: Pennsylvania's Department of State told the court that Marshall's letter represented “a significant change to the outlook for voting by mail in the general election.”

  • "[T]he Postal Service had not indicated the likelihood of widespread, continuing, multiple-day mail-delivery delays presenting an overwhelming, statewide risk of disenfranchisement for significant numbers of voters utilizing mail-in ballots" before sending the letter, the filing reads.

Read the filing.

Go deeper

Updated Nov 22, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Trump campaign asks Georgia for another election recount

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. Photo: Paras Griffin/Getty Images

Georgia will conduct another presidential election results recount following a Trump campaign request on Saturday.

Why it matters: State election officials and Gov. Brian Kemp (R) on Friday certified Georgia's election results that show President-elect Joe Biden officially won the state by just over 12,600 votes.

Judge tosses Trump campaign bid to block Pennsylvania vote certification

Election workers count ballots at the Philadelphia Convention Center Photo: Chris McGrath/Getty Images

A judge in Pennsylvania on Saturday dismissed a Trump campaign lawsuit that sought to invalidate millions of votes and block the certification of President-elect Joe Biden's victory in the state.

Why it matters: The ruling is another blow to President Trump and his campaign as they seek to discredit election tallies in Pennsylvania and other key swing states, citing baseless and unproven claims of widespread voter fraud. Counties in Pennsylvania must certify their election totals and send them to secretary of the commonwealth by Monday.

Updated Nov 22, 2020 - Politics & Policy

GOP Sen. Pat Toomey: Trump has exhausted all plausible legal options

Sen. Pat Toomey during a Senate hearing in May. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) congratulated President-elect Joe Biden on his election win, saying in a statement, "President Trump has exhausted all plausible legal options to challenge the result of the presidential race in Pennsylvania."

Why it matters: Toomey made the announcement hours after a Republican judge in his home state dismissed a Trump campaign lawsuit that sought to block the certification of Pennsylvania's election results.

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