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Judge orders USPS to search centers for ballots, including in South Florida

FILE - In this Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020, file photo, a person drops applications for mail-in-ballots into a mail box in Omaha, Neb. A U.S. judge on Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020, blocked controversial Postal Service changes that have slowed mail nationwide. The judge called them "a politically motivated attack on the efficiency of the Postal Service" before the November election. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik, File)
FILE - In this Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020, file photo, a person drops applications for mail-in-ballots into a mail box in Omaha, Neb. A U.S. judge on Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020, blocked controversial Postal Service changes that have slowed mail nationwide. The judge called them "a politically motivated attack on the efficiency of the Postal Service" before the November election. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik, File) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

WASHINGTON – A federal judge in Washington, D.C., has ordered U.S. Postal Service inspectors to sweep more than two dozen mail processing facilities for lingering mail-in ballots and for those ballots to be sent out immediately, including South Florida.

The order, which includes centers in South Florida, central Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Detroit, Atlanta, and parts of Wisconsin, comes after national delivery delays leading up to the election and concerns the agency wouldn’t be able to deliver ballots on time.

Individual post offices were not single out, such as the embroiled southwest-Miami Dade postal facility where House Democratic Leader Kionne McGhee tweeted a video Friday purportedly showing election mail piled up in bins at a facility.

The Postal Service’s ability to handle the surge of mail-in ballots became a concern after its new leader, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, a major GOP donor, implemented a series of policy changes that delayed mail nationwide this summer.

Delivery times have since rebounded but have consistently remained below the agency’s internal goals of having more than 95% of first-class mail delivered within five days, with service in some battleground areas severely lagging, according to postal data.