WILKES-BARRE, PA (WNEP) — The U.S. Attorney’s office says the Luzerne County Bureau of Elections has been the focus of a federal investigation this week. The Luzerne County District Attorney contacted the office to report a potential issue with some mail-in ballots.
U.S. Attorney David Freed says after interviews with elections employees by the FBI and state police, they found that nine military mail-in ballots had been discarded, with most of them recovered from an outdoor dumpster.
Seven of the ballots were votes for President Donald Trump. Word of the investigation reached the White House by the afternoon.
“Ballots for the president were found in Pennsylvania, and I believe you should be getting more on that shortly, here in the last 24 hours, they were found cast aside,” said White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany during a news conference.
Later in the day, the U.S. attorney sent out a letter saying it appears that elections staff thought they were opening requests for mail-in ballots, not actual ballots.
The letter also said that Luzerne County had the same problem during the primary election in June and that it has not been corrected.
People we talked to in Luzerne County say they were planning to vote in person anyway.
“If they’re being opened and resealed, then that’s it right there. There’s no accuracy with that,” said Julius Ward from Hazleton.
“I just think the old-fashioned way, just going in and voting the way that we’ve always done is more appropriate,” said Gina Goyne from Hanover Township.
Pennsylvania’s attorney general was on CNN earlier in the evening, saying the investigation by the U.S. Attorney proves that mail-in ballots are being protected.
“All of us in law enforcement are doing our job to make sure that legal, eligible votes are counted,” said Attorney General Josh Shapiro.
The Luzerne County District Attorney declined to comment about the findings so far, saying U.S. Attorney David Freed is the lead investigator.
Freed says this investigation is ongoing.
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