Major news is coming in over the "case" of the nine "discarded" ballots from Luzerne County, Pennsylvania that President Donald Trump revealed to Fox News Radio on Thursday.
Here's what appears to have happened, and we're going to bullet point this so it's easy to follow.
- The ballots were discarded by a temporary, or "contract" worker assigned to sort the mail who appears to have been following direction.
- The ballots were military ballots, not absentee or other by-mail ballots.
- The county immediately reported what happened to federal officials, who appear to have immediately politicized the issue.
- "Because these ballots were returned in envelopes similar to absentee ballot requests, elections officials opened them," The Washington Post reports. "If the ballots weren't then enclosed in another envelope which shielded the actual vote being cast, they may have been considered 'naked ballots,' a term used to describe mail ballots returned without the voter's intent being protected.
- The Trump campaign and the Pennsylvania GOP in a lawsuit argued that "naked ballots" should not be counted. They won that lawsuit. These nine ballots appear to be "naked ballots," and that appears to be the reason they were thrown out.
Here's how MSNBC's Chris Hayes sums it up: It's the GOP's fault.
TL:DR the discarded Trump ballots were discarded because...Trump and GOP lawyers won a lawsuit requiring them to no… https://t.co/iBuroNQbPX— Chris Hayes (@Chris Hayes)1601048139.0
- The contract worker has been told to not return.
- Buzzfeed adds it appears the DOJ violated its own policy by issuing a press release about the "discarded" ballots, and even worse, suggesting this is a case of election fraud, and even worse than that, suggesting one candidate over another was favored.
- MSNBC adds that county officials were not aware of who the ballots were for until the DOJ's press release was issued.
- Attorney General Bill Barr personally briefed President Trump about the discarded ballots. Trump and his White House press secretary then politicized the event.
- The county elections supervisor was exceedingly thorough. "Garbage from the Elections Bureau from September 14 through September 16, the time the independent contractor was on County property, was put in a dumpster and secured by County staff," a local Pennsylvania news report states. "The trash was then searched by the FBI, the Luzerne County District Attorney’s Office, the Pennsylvania State Police and county staff. All contents relating to the matter were taken by the FBI."