A viral article from Diamond and Silk—the former Fox Nation online personalities who lost their gig after spreading misinformation about coronavirus—claims that the recently discovered nine discarded ballots in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania were tossed out by anti-Trump United States Postal Service workers. The pair shared the article on their Facebook and Twitter pages, where it received thousands of likes and shares.
The article cites previous pieces from Brietbart and the New York Post, about an anonymous Democratic operative who told the Post that mail carriers are sometimes involved in fixing elections by throwing out ballots in districts that lean heavily in one direction or another. The Brietbart piece suggested that “The fraud tactic was potentially most recently used in the swing district of Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, where the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Justice Department (DOJ) say mail-in ballots by members of the United States Armed Forces cast for Trump were ‘discarded.’” Diamond and Silk, whose real names are Lynnette Hardaway and Rochelle Richardson, respectively, repeated this claim, dropping any of the hedging that Brietbart used, and claiming outright that mail carriers discarded the ballots in Luzerne. The article states: “The disturbing tactic was most recently used in the swing district of Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, where the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Justice Department (DOJ) say mail-in ballots by members of the United States Armed Forces cast for Trump were ‘discarded.’”
As noted in a previous fact check about the situation in Luzerne, the investigation into the discarded nine mail-in military ballots is ongoing, so very little can be said definitively. However, there is no evidence to support claims that the ballots were disposed of by mail carriers. According to a statement released by the FBI, the discarded ballots were discovered by Luzerne County Board of Elections staff at the Board of Elections office. The staff members who spoke to investigators stated that the envelopes used for military ballots and mail-in ballot requests are similar and easily confused. The FBI noted that this was “a known issue” during the primary elections. The county manager placed the blame for the error on a temporary worker who had been brought in to help with the election season.
Based on all available information about what occurred in Luzerne, it is incorrect to suggest, as Diamond and Silk have, that mail carriers played any role in the discarded ballots.