- President Donald Trump falsely claimed that an incident where nine ballots were accidentally discarded in Pennsylvania was evidence of widespread “voter fraud.”
- Officials in Luzerne County said on Friday that a “temporary seasonal independent contractor” had “incorrectly discarded (the ballots) into the office trash.”
- The incident was quickly caught and is being investigated.
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President Donald Trump again falsely claimed on Friday that an incident where nine ballots were accidentally discarded was evidence of widespread “voter fraud.”
On Thursday, the Department of Justice released said it was investigating “reports of potential issues with mail-in ballots.”
The DOJ said “small number of military ballots were discarded” and investigators “recovered nine ballots at this time.” Later that day the department said that seven of the ballots were for Trump and the other two “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.”
On Friday, local officials in Luzerne County said in a statement that a “temporary seasonal independent contractor” had “incorrectly discarded (the ballots) into the office trash.”
Trump has repeatedly in the past claimed that the election would be rigged or made unsubstantiated claims of widespread voter fraud. Trump has used this incident to falsely allege widespread voter fraud, despite no evidence of such, which Trump’s appointed FBI director confirmed this week.
“Now, we have not seen, historically, any kind of coordinated national voter fraud effort in a major election, whether it’s by mail or otherwise,” FBI Director Christopher Wray told the Senate Homeland Security Committee on Thursday.
The DOJ statement about the Pennsylvania incident did not use the phrase “voter fraud.” But Trump has been using the incident to drive a false narrative about voting. This tactic is not new for Trump. In 2016, rather than attack mail-in ballots, he falsely claimed that illegal votes were being cast, of which his own commission found no evidence.
“They throw them out if they have the name Trump on it, I guess,” Trump said on Thursday, according to CNN.
While Trump and his administration have used this incident to tout a fraud narrative, officials in Pennsylvania said the incident was an “error” — not intentional fraud — that was quickly noticed and is being investigated. Investigators told CNN they believe it was due to a lack of training, and the investigation is ongoing.
CNN reported that Attorney General William Barr briefed Trump about the incident prior to Trump’s public comments attacking mail-in-voting. Legal experts were concerned that Barr was using the Justice Department to try and give credence to Trump’s baseless attacks on mail-in ballots.