Election official says no Wisconsin ballots in found mail

Midwest

FILE – Mailboxes in Omaha, Neb., Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. The Postmaster general announced Tuesday he is halting some operational changes to mail delivery that critics warned were causing widespread delays and could disrupt voting in the November election. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy said he would “suspend” his initiatives until after the election “to avoid even the appearance of impact on election mail.” (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

MADISON, Wis. (NewsNation Now) —  Wisconsin’s top election official said Thursday there were no Wisconsin absentee ballots found in mail that was discovered in a ditch outside of Appleton, Wisconsin last week.

Meagan Wolfe, administrator for the Wisconsin Elections Commission, said the U.S. Postal Service’s investigation into what was found is ongoing, but she had been told there were no Wisconsin ballots among the mail found. Wolfe said she did not know if ballots from another state were in the mail.

The postal service said last week that absentee ballots were among the mail that was found but did not say then where they were from. The U.S. Postal Inspection Service said Thursday it was “unable to comment” on the investigation.

USPS officials had previously said that the mail was mixed, but did contain “several absentee ballots.”

Wolfe said once the postal service’s investigation was complete, more details would be released publicly.

President Donald Trump has publicly referenced ballots found in “ditches” and “rivers,” and also cited military ballots found discarded in a wastebasket in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania. The U.S. Justice Department said seven of the nine ballots found had Trump’s name.

In the final segment of the contentious debate between President Trump and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden on Tuesday, Trump launched into an extended argument against mail voting, claiming it is ripe for fraud and suggesting mail ballots may be “manipulated.”

“This is going to be a fraud like you’ve never seen,” the president said of the massive shift to mail voting prompted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Mail voting has proved to be safe and secure in the five states that already use it broadly.

His comments come as his reelection campaign and the Republican Party have begun challenging the way those ballots are being processed and preparing for broad legal battles after Election Day.

The discovery of the discarded mail in Wisconsin had been watched with interest given resulting focus being placed on election security.

The Associated Press and Nexstar Media Wire contributed to this report.

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