Small number of military ballots improperly discarded in Pennsylvania; FBI investigating


FILE – In this Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020, file photo, a person drops applications for mail-in-ballots into a mail box in Omaha, Neb. U.S. Postal Service warnings that it can’t guarantee ballots sent by mail will arrive on time have put a spotlight on the narrow timeframes most states allow to request and return those ballots. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik, File)

LUZERNE COUNTY, Pa. (NewsNation Now) — A small number of military ballots were improperly discarded, nine of which have been recovered at the Luzerne County Board of Elections.

The Office of the United States Attorney along with the FBI and Scranton Resident Office announced Thursday that an investigation has began into the ballot issue.

“Some of those ballots can be attributed to specific voters and some cannot. Of the nine ballots that were discarded and then recovered, 7 were cast for presidential candidate Donald Trump,” U.S. Attorney David Freed said in a statement. “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 2 ballots are unknown.”

It is not yet clear if there are more that have not yet been recovered by investigators.

In Wisconsin, a box of mail was found this week in a ditch in Outagamie County.

According to a social media post shared with NewsNation affiliate WFRV, the box, which included three trays of mail including absentee ballots, were found Tuesday and turned over to the Outagamie County Sheriff’s Office.

The mail was returned to the U.S. Postal Service, which said in a statement:

We are aware of some mail, including absentee ballots, recovered in Greenville, Outagamie County earlier this week. The United States Postal Inspection Service has asked the Office of Inspector General (OIG) to conduct an investigation regarding these issues. The Postal Service will respond to the OIG findings once the investigation is concluded. We have no further information to provide at this time.

U.S. Postal Service

There have been concerns over mail-in ballots in light of the coronavirus pandemic, with millions of Americans expected to vote by mail instead of in person at polling places. The USPS has warned that it can’t guarantee mailed ballots will arrive on time.

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany addressed both instances during a Thursday news briefing.

“The president wants to get rid of mass mail-out voting. He said that can damage either candidate’s chances because it is a system subject to fraud,” said McEnany. “In fact, within the last 24 hours police in Greenville, Wisconsin found mail in a ditch and it included absentee ballots. Also, I can confirm with you that Trump ballots, ballots for the president, were found in Pennsylvania.”

On Aug. 4, President Donald Trump encouraged Florida voters to vote by mail, following weeks of criticism against the process.

NewsNation affiliate WFRV and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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