U.S. Postal Service finds additional ballots in swing state Pennsylvania

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As counting of postal ballots continues in the crucial swing state of Pennsylvania, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has said about 1,700 ballots had been identified in the city’s processing facilities during two sweeps on Thursday; they are now being delivered to election officials.

In a court filing early Friday, USPS said 1,642 ballots for the US presidential election had been found at three different processing centres in Pennsylvania.

Ballots must be received by Friday evening in Pennsylvania in order to be counted.

The vote for the U.S. president remains extremely close and Pennsylvania is one of the states that remains undecided. President Trump currently leads in Pennsylvania by 18,228 votes.

Trump is suing to stop vote counting in Pennsylvania and his campaign filed an injunction Thursday to bar votes from being counted in Philadelphia unless a Republican observer was present.

He also filed a lawsuit to halt the vote count in Michigan, which a judge rejected.

Postal vote counting continues in Georgia where Trump leads by 665 votes, Nevada where Biden has a 11,438 vote lead, and Arizona where Biden is 47,052 votes ahead.

About 500 ballots were also discovered in North Carolina during sweeps, USPS said on Friday.

Daily sweeps

U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan on Thursday had ordered twice daily sweeps at USPS facilities serving states with extended ballot receipt deadlines as votes were still being counted in U.S. election battleground states.

Some states, including Nevada and North Carolina, are counting ballots that are received after Election Day as long as they were postmarked by Tuesday.

Lawyers said at a court hearing on Thursday that USPS had delivered about 150,000 ballots on Wednesday.

"The vast majority were destined for postmark states and would be delivered on-time under state election law," USPS said.

Sullivan said the processing centres must perform morning sweeps and then afternoon sweeps "to ensure that any identified local ballots can be delivered that day."

Sullivan issued a separate order requiring USPS to "coordinate with all local county Boards of Elections in North Carolina or Pennsylvania" in order to deliver all ballots "before 5:00 PM local time in North Carolina or Pennsylvania" on Friday.

Ballots were still being counted by election officials in battleground states after polls closed Tuesday in one of the most unusual elections in U.S. history because of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Democratic candidate Joe Biden was cutting sharply into Republican President Donald Trump's leads in Pennsylvania and Georgia.

The former vice president retained slim margins in Nevada and Arizona.

(With Reuters)