A temporary agent in the state of Pennsylvania on the battlefield mistakenly threw mail in the trash for President Donald Trump, county officials revealed.
A senior federal prosecutor announced on Thursday that his office has launched an investigation into a small number of discarded ballots sent during the upcoming 2020 presidential election in the United States.
The incident caught the attention of Trump, who cited it as proof that voting by mail could not be trusted and was prone to fraud.
The Luserne County Electoral Bureau claims this was due to an administrative error and that county officials did not know who they voted for until it was revealed by the Justice Department earlier this week.
The U.S. Attorney for Middle Pennsylvania is investigating nine ballots thrown in the state, seven of which had votes for President Donald Trump. District officials said Friday that votes were mistakenly thrown in the trash by a temporary worker
Pennsylvania is a crucial state on the battlefield in the 2020 election.
Lucerne C. County Governor David Pedry said in a statement Friday that the interim independent contractor “incorrectly threw the UMOVA bills in the office.”
UMOVA is an acronym for ballots from military and foreign voters.
The ballots were found in a trash can next to the election building.
Pedris said the worker started on September 14, but the mistake was discovered by Lucerne County Election Director Shelby Vachila two days later.
‘Miss. Watchilla immediately launched an internal investigation and informed its immediate supervisor. The temporary independent contractor was taken out of service and informed not to return, “Pedri said.
Watchilla “contacted the Luzerne County Legal Service, which investigated the matter and advised that this should be reported to the authorities”.
A request was then made to the district prosecutor’s office.
Pedry added that “all the rubbish from the Electoral Bureau” accumulated during the three days the contractor worked there was “placed in a rubbish bin and secured by Lucerne County officials”.
“Each garbage bag from the entire building in the trash can was searched by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the District Attorney of Lucerne County, the Pennsylvania State Police, and Luzerne County officials. All disturbing elements were detained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, “he wrote.
In a highly unusual public statement Thursday, U.S. Pennsylvania Central Attorney David Fried said his office and the FBI were contacted Monday by Lucerne County Attorney Stephanie Salavantis amid concerns about “potential problems with low mail.” -in ballots in the election commission of the district of Lucerne. ‘
He said his cabinet could confirm that “a small number of military ballots” had been rejected.
“Of the nine ballots that were discarded and then reinstated, seven were nominated for presidential candidate Donald Trump. “Two of the discarded ballots were resealed in their appropriate envelopes from the Luzerne election before the FBI’s recovery, and the contents of those two ballots are unknown,” he added.
Ballots from military and foreign voters were found in a trash can outside the building
“Our investigation revealed that all or almost all of the envelopes received by the election commission were open, of course,” Fried added.
“Investigators were told that the envelopes used for official foreign, military, absent and postal voting requests were so similar that officials believed that following the protocol to keep unopened envelopes would cause them to miss such requests.”
In an earlier statement published online, Fried’s cabinet initially claimed that all nine ballots had been submitted for Trump. The link was abruptly removed later in the day on Thursday, and a revised statement was issued.
Dawn Clark, a spokesman for Fried’s office, said the ballots were “incorrectly opened” by county staff.
The news of the investigation in Pennsylvania, a state that Trump conducted in 2016 with 44,000 votes, may add fuel to Trump’s efforts to question the legitimacy of the upcoming election.
He often claims, without evidence, that widespread mail voting will lead to fraud. Democrats, meanwhile, are encouraging postal voting so that Americans can vote peacefully during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Attorney General William Barr, pictured right with Trump, briefed the president on the ballots cast before the investigation went public on Thursday.
Democrats promote mail ballots over pandemic Pictured, DC Election Commission hosts event Vote Safe DC campaign that encourages residents to vote by mail
ABC reports that Attorney General William Barr personally informed the president of the ballots shortly before the investigation was announced.
Speaking at the White House on Thursday, Trump said there were ballots with his name in the trash.
“We want to make sure the election is fair and I’m not sure it can be. “I don’t know what could be wrong with this whole situation, unsolicited ballots,” Trump said.
He later spoke on Fox News, where he reiterated that mail voting would lead to widespread election fraud.
“They were Trump’s ballots – eight ballots in the office yesterday – but they were in a certain state – they had written Trump and they were thrown in the trash. That will happen, “Trump said in an interview.
“Here’s what will happen and we’re investigating.”
A statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Central Pennsylvania did not mention “fraud.”
White House critics have said the incident is being used politically to bolster Trump.
“This is an ongoing investigation in which there is no reason in the public interest not to comment on the usual policy – and especially not to say who the ballots were submitted for. An unprecedented contribution in kind to the president’s campaign, “Matthew Miller, a former director of the Justice Department’s public relations department, said on Twitter.
However, Trump’s team continued to pass the story as evidence.
“Democrats are trying to steal the election,” tweeted Matt Walking, deputy director of communications and rapid reaction in Trump’s campaign.
Earlier this week, Trump said the winner of the presidential race would not be known on election day – predicting a long “dispute” between the two parties within a week, when he caused a stir when he refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power .
Trump’s comment on a contested election made during a speech in Atlanta is in line with what many political observers warn could happen.
This was followed by his repeated attacks on postal voting and a claim on Thursday that the election would not be “fair”.
“I don’t know about this voting situation now,” he said in a speech on black empowerment.
“You will not see him on November 3. Democrats play games. Do you see that, ”Trump said.
He told the crowd, “But you will raise your hand, if not on November 3, hopefully soon after. I know you’re going to raise your hand, I could be in a dispute with me for a long time because that’s what they want.
“But in the end, we will win, that’s for sure,” Trump added.
He mocked the idea of staying outside the Constitution, which would keep him up to two terms.
“I told you he was a dictator!” He will not give up power! ‘Trump said. “Under no circumstances will he relinquish power.” He intends to serve at least two more terms.
At the time, Trump was riffing off remarks that had “a little sarcasm” and how they were urging people to shout “another twelve years!”
Trump then smiled broadly as his supporters erupted in the chanting “Twelve more years!”
He made his statements when he attacked mail voting, a method used by millions of Americans, with opinion polls showing a disproportionate share of Joe Biden’s mail voting.
According to ABC, ballot envelopes cannot be opened until the canvas is in motion.
The counties are expected to store and maintain the security of the returned ballots so far.
Pedry said the county would now try to contact participating voters and process their votes.
They also plan to provide additional training for all staff and to install a security camera in the election bureau to “actively monitor and ensure that all staff strictly adhere to proper procedures and protocols.”
FBI Director Christopher Ray recently discussed a fraudulent vote and said it had never been seen in a major election.
“Historically, we have not seen any coordinated national voter fraud efforts during major elections, whether by mail or otherwise,” he said during a Senate hearing on Thursday.
Fried said in a statement that the investigation into his office “continues”.