The U.S. Postal Service turned down a federal judge’s order late Tuesday afternoon to sweep mail processing facilities serving 15 states, saying instead it would stick to its own inspection schedule. The court order came after the agency disclosed that more than 300,000 ballots nationwide could not be traced.

U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan of the District of Columbia on Tuesday had given the mail agency until 3:30 p.m. to conduct the “all clear” checks to ensure that any found ballots could be delivered before polls closed. His order affected 12 postal districts spanning 15 states.

But in a filing sent to the court just before 5 p.m., Justice Department attorneys representing the Postal Service said the agency would not abide by the order, to better accommodate inspectors’ schedules.