On October 29, 2020, a judge for the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida ordered the U.S. Postal Service to implement measures to ensure that Florida mail-in ballots are efficiently delivered and counted by Election Day on November 3. The court order came as the result of a lawsuit brought by Levy Ratner’s client, 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, a labor union representing over 400,000 healthcare workers nationwide, including 26,000 health care workers and 10,000 retirees in Florida. The lawsuit challenges plans by U.S. Postal Service chief Louis DeJoy to change the mail system with the effect of stifling Florida mail-in voting.
The district court’s emergency order requires the U.S. Postal Service to take affirmative steps to ensure the timely delivery of mail-in ballots. Perhaps most importantly, the order requires USPS to certify to the Union by 8am on Monday, November 2 that Florida’s ten largest counties have processed all mail ballots it received on or before Sunday, November 1. Also, significantly, the order requires USPS to implement a “hub-and-spoke plan” in every Florida county pursuant to which mail ballots will be routed locally, rather than through distant sorting facilities, to ensure that they reach the county supervisor of election in a timely manner.
The Court has scheduled a follow-up hearing for Monday, November 2 – the day before Election Day — to address any problems with mail delivery in the critical final days of the election.