Did Mail Carriers Discard the Pennsylvania Ballots Subject to FBI and DoJ Investigation?

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.

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Comments (7)
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  • What on earth is a “GOP neighborhood”? I’m pretty sure not all my neighbors are Republican and I’m positive my mail carrier has no idea what my party affiliation is.

  • Man, I don't want to live in a world where I can't believe Diamond and Silk!

    Seriously though - fact-checking these clowns gives them a creditability they don't deserve. Next you'll be fact-checking that muttering drunk guy who sits in the corner every night down at the Legion.

    1. I've seen enough right-leaning people admire Diamond and Silk, or Candace Owens, in the "finally black people who tell it like it is, and our liking them proves we're not racist!" sense that I doubt it's *Alec* giving them a credibility they don't deserve.

      Even exceptionally intelligent, learned conservatives – physicists, economists – can fall for a folksy black act that helps them avoid uncomfortable questions raised by the aftereffects of the GOP's embrace of the Southern Strategy.

    2. In a world where USA Today and Snopes "fact check" the Babylon Bee, anything's possible.

  • Why does it require an “ongoing investigation” by the US Department of Justice to find out the reason that a temporary office clerk mishandled the mail? The question shouldn’t be that complicated. The Justice Dept. should say whether or not the worker or others in the office are targets of a criminal investigation. The worker should be asked by news reporters for comment. If the mishandling was the result of poor training or individual incompetence or carelessness, the Feds ought to say so instead of allowing poisonous suspicions about ballot fraud. Nobody in charge will say the word “mistake” and we need to know why they won’t.

  • I wish the few remaining honest Republicans could step back from this and call out the *manifest traitorousness* of what Trump is doing here by amplifying these conspiracy theories.

    Trump's goal, as we saw again on the "debate" stage last night, is to so denigrate our election system as to make millions of Americans think the election was stolen from them if Trump loses. Clearly he is counting on the "Supreme Court" to make the decision as to whether he should win or not, and not, most pointedly, the American voters. (To be clear, I suspect whatever SC will rule the correct way).

    It's hard to even calculate how destructive this is to our country. We are on the precipice of years and years of a *large* contingent of Americans being convinced we are not living in a democracy. We will probably never again in our lifetimes have a "normal" election as we had in the past, and violence is the obvious outgrowth of this kind of rhetoric.

    I keep asking Republicans: is this sort of destruction of our country's democracy really worth it? Realy?