Police in the swing-state of Wisconsin are investigating how three trays of mail which included absentee ballots ended up in a ditch, after the mail was found at 8 a.m. Tuesday morning near a highway before it was immediately turned over to the US Postal Service, according to Fox 11.
"The United States Postal Inspection Service immediately began investigating and we reserve further comment on this matter until that is complete," said USPS spokesman Bob Sheehan in a statement.
The incident comes a mere five weeks before the presidential election, which has been steeped in partisan bickering over the system of mail-in and absentee ballots and wavering trust in the alternate system.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, which marked a grim milestone this week of over 200,000 deaths in the U.S., voters are expected to cast ballots by mail in record numbers.
“We expect more than 3 million Wisconsin residents to vote in the November election, which means even more first-time absentee by mail voters,” Meagan Wolfe, the elections commission’s administrator, said in a statement earlier this month. -Fox News
Prior to the pandemic, just 6% of Wisconsin voters cast absentee ballots by mail - however during the state's April primaries, that number jumped to 60%, when 1.1 million out of 1.55 million votes were conducted through the postal service. During the August partisan primary, Wolfe said that 82% of the 867,000 votes cast were via absentee ballot.
During said primaries, thousands of voters across the state complained that they never received the absentee ballots they requested. In one case, a Milwaukee postal worker said that three bins of absentee ballots had never been delivered.
Meanwhile in Pennsylvania, the FBI and the office of the United States Attorney found nine discarded mail-in ballots from members of the military, all cast for President Trump.
According to the DOJ:
Since Monday, FBI personnel working together with the Pennsylvania State Police have conducted numerous interviews and recovered and reviewed certain physical evidence. Election officials in Luzerne County have been cooperative. At this point we can confirm that a small number of military ballots were discarded. Investigators have recovered nine ballots at this time. Some of those ballots can be attributed to specific voters and some cannot. All nine ballots were cast for presidential candidate Donald Trump.
They threw out military ballots in PA— Jack Posobiec 🇺🇸 (@JackPosobiec) September 24, 2020
On Thursday, President Trump told Fox News' Biran Kilmeade on his radio show that mail-in ballots are a "horror show" and that missing ballots are "emblematic of thousands of ballots" which could get lost this year.
Trump tells Brian Kilmeade on "Fox News Radio" that "these ballots are a horror show." pic.twitter.com/6MppvzWvD4— Talking Points Memo (@TPM) September 24, 2020