State Watch

Pennsylvania’s top election official says discarded ballots not ‘intentional fraud’

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Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar (D) said Wednesday that there was no “intentional fraud” involved in the discarding of nine military ballots in Luzerne County.

“The investigation is still going on, but from the initial reports we’ve been given, this was a bad error,” Boockvar said at a Wednesday virtual meeting, according to The Associated Press. “This was not intentional fraud. So training, training, training.”

Pennsylvania deputy secretary for elections Jonathan Marks said that in many cases, military or international ballots were received in envelopes that did not identify them as ballots. It is standard procedure to reseal such ballots and classify them with other absentee and mail-in ballots, according to Marks, who attributed the mistake to “confusion.”

Marks echoed Boockvar, saying that the incident emphasized the need for more training. State Department officials are currently training election workers in Luzerne County on how to handle unmarked envelopes containing election materials.

“That’s what needs to be tightened up,” Marks said, according to the AP.

President Trump and his administration have repeatedly presented the case as evidence of voter fraud, including an initial statement by the Justice Department wrongly claiming that all nine ballots were cast for the president. The department later amended the statement to say that seven had been for Trump.

While the unidentified worker has been fired, the FBI has not said whether any criminal charges are possible or whether the votes in question will be counted.

The president invoked the case at the Tuesday presidential debate, describing it as “cheating.” Pennsylvania is not among the states conducting universal mail-in voting in 2020, the specific scenario he has repeatedly claimed will lead to widespread voter fraud. Experts have consistently contradicted Trump, saying mail-in ballots are not a meaningful source of voter fraud.

Tags 2020 election Donald Trump Electoral fraud mail-in voting Postal voting in the United States

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