Trump ballots found in trash in PA, DOJ investigates fraud
President Trump again raised the specter of voter fraud for the November election when overseas military ballots for Trump were found in the trash in Luzerne County, PA where Democrat voters outweigh Republican voters 51 percent to 37 percent.
Luzerne County Election chief Shelby Watchilla blamed the mix-up on a temporary contractor who was subsequently fired, but as most county election vote-counting relies heavily on contractors around the country to meet high staffing demands of the season, it provides small comfort to Republicans.
“The temporary independent contractor was removed from service and informed not to return,” a release by Watchilla states simply.
More disturbing are allegations by the Department of the Justice (DOJ) that the ballots had been opened by the staff before being discarded.
“The FBI has recovered a number of documents relating to military ballots that had been improperly opened by your elections staff, and had the ballots removed and discarded, or removed and placed separately from the envelope containing confidential voter information and attestation,” wrote David Freed, U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Pennsylvania to Watchilla.
Freed said that it was “imperative” the Luzerne County correct the issues immediately because Freed doesn’t know if the discarded ballots can be legally counted in the general election after being spoiled by the county’s mishandling.
Trump has often characterized mail-in voting as inherently unsafe and this latest incident gives the president more ammunition to attack those who would like to switch over to all mail-in ballots.
Trump has called the mail-in ballot system a “scam.”
A judge in Pennsylvania has extended the deadline to count ballots for three days after election.
Trump Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows, echoed Trump over the weekend.
“We’ve got states that actually are doing things that you would qualify as a scam, when you start to look at allowing mail-in ballots to come in seven, nine days after Nov. 3, changing the laws through judges that actually are not legislators,” Meadows told Face the Nation on Sunday. “I think that’s a real problem… we need to make sure that what we do is protect the ballot process to make sure we’re not creating a situation that is ripe with fraud.”
One of the major issues with mail-in votes is that when the ballot envelopes are opened, the handler can see which candidates are marked on the ballot, violating the constitutional requirement of a secret ballot and opening the door for voter fraud by discarding or spoiling the ballot.
“Our interviews further revealed that this issue was a problem in the primary election — therefore a known issue — and that the problem has not been corrected,” added Freed.
PHOTO: Gene J. Puskar/AP Photo
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