U.S. federal investigators found a small number of mail-in ballots discarded at the Luzerne County Board of Elections on September 16, 2020.
On September 21, 2020, Luzerne County District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis, along with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Scranton Resident Office, began an inquiry into reports of potential issues with nine discarded military ballots at the Luzerne County Board of Elections. They said that the ballots were opened improperly, no charges were filed, and no official action was taken.
The county had hired a temporary independent contractor to sort mail received by the elections bureau. The County Elections Director discovered that the worker had incorrectly discarded into the office trash Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UMOVA) ballots, which are provided to Americans living overseas and military voters. The U.S. Attorney David Freed said that among the nine ballots, seven were cast for presidential candidate Donald Trump, and two of the discarded ballots had been resealed inside their appropriate envelopes by Luzerne elections staff recovered by the FBI. Those two ballots' contents are unknown. 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.