U.S. attorney in battleground Pennsylvania is investigating a “small number of mail-in ballots” that were found in the trash.
Earlier this week, the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Middle District of Pennsylvania and the FBI’s Scranton Office announced they “began an inquiry into reports of potential issues with a small number of mail-in ballots at the Luzerne County Board of Elections.” The probe comes after nine ballots were found in a trash dumpster outside the board of elections office.
Very strange things have been happening since Trump voiced his disdain for people attempting to send in their ballots for the upcoming presidential by mail. Some of the happenings include unmarked cars dumping mail in random places around cities, city officials threatening to take away people’s voting rights if they are arrested for protesting as well as Trump’s administration cutting funding from the U.S. Postal Service, making the delivery of mail take longer. Not mention, robocalls have been mysteriously sent to cities that are home to predominately Black and Brown communities, falsely warning voters that if they vote by mail that they will subject to background checks that could potentially hold them accountable for past fines or fees that they owe the government.
“At this point, we can confirm that a small number of military ballots were discarded. Investigators have recovered nine ballots at this time. Some of those ballots can be attributed to specific voters, and some cannot,” the U.S. attorney’s office said in a statement. During an initial announcement, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Middle District of Pennsylvania said the nine ballots were all cast for Trump, however, the number was updated to seven, Alisa Wiersema, Kendall Karson, and Alexander Mallin of ABC News report. The attorney’s office also said that two were resealed inside the envelope.
The updated press release said: ”Of the nine ballots that were discarded and then recovered, seven were cast for presidential candidate Donald Trump. Two of the discarded ballots had been resealed inside their appropriate envelopes by Luzerne elections staff prior to recovery by the FBI, and the contents of those two ballots are unknown.”
When addressing the issue, White House press secretary #KayleighMcEnany said that more information will be given to the public shortly. “I can confirm for you that Trump ballots, ballots for the president, were found in Pennsylvania, and I believe you should be getting more information on that shortly,” she said, adding that, “Here In the last 24 hours, they were found cast aside.
U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Middle District of Pennsylvania, U.S. Attorney David Freed wrote in a letter to Luzerne County’s Director of Elections, Shelby Watchilla, that the office teamed up with the FBI to look into the dumped ballots per Luzerne County District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis. Freed has reportedly found that a number of documents showing military ballots were “improperly opened” by-elections staff and “had the ballots removed and discarded, or removed and placed separately from the envelope containing confidential voter information and attestation.”
He added that “In addition to the military ballots and envelopes that were discarded and recovered as detailed above, investigators recovered four (4) apparently official, barcoded, absentee ballot envelopes that were empty. Two (2) of those envelopes had the completed attestations and signatures on the reverse side. One (1) envelope with a handwritten return address was blank on the reverse side. The fourth empty envelope contains basic location information and the words ‘affirmation enclosed’ on the reverse side.”
He went on to say that all the ballots were found in a dumpster outside the elections office. “Opening a military or overseas ballot, or an absentee or mail-in ballot for that matter, violates the controlling statutes and is contrary to Pennsylvania Department of State guidance,” Freed wrote. “The preliminary findings of this inquiry are troubling, and the Luzerne County Bureau of Elections must comply with all applicable state and federal election laws and guidance to ensure that all votes-regardless of party-are counted to ensure an accurate election count.”