'No evidence': USPS debunks 'whistleblower' ballot-tampering claims driving Trump election conspiracy theory
Mail (AFP file photo)

On Wednesday, The Washington Post reported that the United States Postal Service found "no evidence" to support the claims of a supposed "whistleblower" in Pennsylvania who claimed ineligible mail-in ballots were being illegally backdated. It was a story pushed by former President Donald Trump and his associates to support conspiracy theories that the election was illegitimate.

"Richard Hopkins, a mail carrier in Erie, alleged in November that he overheard the local postmaster discussing plans to backdate ballots received after the Nov. 3 vote and pass them off to election officials as legitimate," reported Jacob Bogage and Shawn Boburg. "Working with Project Veritas, a nonprofit that seeks to expose what it says is bias in mainstream media, Hopkins publicly released a sworn affidavit recounting those allegations."

"Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-SC) cited Hopkins' claims in a letter to the U.S. Justice Department in November calling for a federal investigation into election results in Pennsylvania, where President Biden beat then-president Donald Trump by more than 81,000 votes, and Democratic candidates outperformed GOP challengers in votes submitted by mail," said the report. "Graham and scores of other congressional Republicans refused to accept the outcome of the election for weeks, even after states audited and certified election results."

Hopkins actually recanted his allegations soon after making them. Despite this, he was still held up as a hero and a validation of Trump's voter fraud claims, with Republicans around the country even contributing $136,000 to a GoFundMe page promising to support him in case he is "wrongfully terminated" from his job.

Project Veritas, run by right-wing activist James O'Keefe, has a history of sleazy, deceptive tactics, including planting people in Democratic campaigns and the media to try to embarrass them. The organization was recently permanently banned from Twitter for violations of the site's terms of service.