The Virginia Democratic Party filed suit against the U.S. Postal Service on Friday, alleging local branches of the federal agency have failed to process and deliver election-related mail ahead of a crucial gubernatorial race.
Filed in U.S. District Court, the lawsuit alleges the backlog in mail across several counties “threatens to disenfranchise thousands of Virginia voters.” Virginia Democratic officials asked the court to compel the USPS to expedite the process before Election Day on Nov. 2.
“To preserve the integrity of the present election, USPS must be ordered to greatly expedite its processing and delivery of election-related mail – particularly in Albemarle, Portsmouth and James City – so that voters across the Commonwealth are not unconstitutionally denied their fundamental right to vote.”
ARLINGTON, VA – OCTOBER 22: Democratic gubernatorial candidate, former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe speaks during a bus tour kickoff rally October 22, 2021 in Arlington, Virginia. The Virginia gubernatorial election is November 2, where McAuliffe will face Republican candidate Glenn Youngkin. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Approximately 174,000 Virginia residents have voted by mail this year, the Washington Post reported, citing data from national voter roll vendor L2. An additional 183,000 early ballots have yet to be returned.
Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin gestures a he talks with supporters during a rally in Culpeper, Va., Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2021. Youngkin faces former Gov. Terry McAuliffe in the November election. (AP Photo/Steve Helber) (AP )
The lawsuit claims thousands of absentee ballots have arrived at USPS facilities but have yet to be processed, while some voters who requested ballots haven’t received them.
The Virginia gubernatorial race has narrowed considerably in recent days in the context between Democratic nominee Terry McAuliffe and Republican nominee Glenn Youngkin, with the race too close to call.
USPS did not immediately respond to a request for comment.