U.S. Federal Investigators found a some mail-in ballots discarded at the Luzerne County Board of Elections. Investigation into the matter is ongoing.
According to a letter from U.S. Attorney Freed to the county elections director, the inquiry into Luzerne County's ballot handling found "potential issues" with that nine discarded military ballots had been "improperly opened" by elections staff and "discarded," reported NPR. He further wrote "the majority" of the recovered ballots and envelopes were found in an outside dumpster, "seven of the nine ballots outside their official envelopes, and two that elections staff had apparently recovered and sealed back in their envelopes." He said investigators also found four "apparently official" absentee ballot envelopes that were empty.
All of the ballots found outside envelopes were cast for Trump, Freed's letter said; it's unknown who two sealed ones are for.
Several experts raised questions about the way the details of this investigation were made public. Justin Levitt, a law professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, said that "It is the vital duty of government not to announce partial facts and 'potential issues' in pending investigations." Information without context could mislead people, and such information must be handled delicately, especially when the investigation is still ongoing.
David Thornburgh, who heads the nonpartisan election watchdog group Committee of Seventy, told NPR, 'Because the U.S. attorney's office offered very few details about the case, voters might conclude the situation is much worse than it actually is and falsely conclude there could be wider, systemic problems.' He noted that the investigation remained active and released the news based on the limited time before the general election and the public importance of those issues.