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“The system of checks and balances set forth in Pennsylvania elections works,” Luzerne County Manager C. David Pedri said in a statement. “An error was made, a public servant discovered it and reported it to law enforcement at the local, state and federal level who took over to ensure the integrity of the system in place.”
The investigations blamed an independent contractor hired to assist with the increased demand for mail-in ballots for the mistake. The nine ballots, from members of the military, were initially reported by the U.S. Attorney’s Office to all have been cast for President Trump. A subsequent release said seven were for Trump, but two were resealed in envelopes for submission and their preference was not known.
District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis told a local publication that the investigation is ongoing, but that she did not believe it would affect the Nov. 3 general election.
“We are confident that it will be successfully resolved so it will not have an impact on the integrity of the election process,” Salavantis told Citizens Voice earlier this week.
The county confirmed that that ballots were Uniformed Military and Overseas Voter ballots, which are provided to U.S. citizens that live abroad or are in the military.
President Trump was informed about the nine ballots by Attorney General William Barr earlier this week and redoubled his claims that mail-in voting is a “scam,” according to a report by the Washington Post.
More than half of all Americans are expected to vote by mail during the 2020 presidential election due to the coronavirus pandemic, an issue that the president believes could raise questions about the validity of the election.
“We want to make sure that the election is honest, and I’m not sure that it can be,” Trump told reporters at the White House Thursday, after referencing ballots found in a “wastepaper basket.”
Despite the president’s claims, most election experts have said that voting by mail is a safe and secure way to cast a ballot.
Luzerne County officials said they were taking additional measures to make sure this doesn’t happen again by providing additional training to staff members.