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Home / US / The Department of Justice’s eager report on “abandoned ballots” has triggered concerns about pro-Trump bias

The Department of Justice’s eager report on “abandoned ballots” has triggered concerns about pro-Trump bias



IThis is a story tailored for Donald Trump: An election official in an important county in Pennsylvania was arrested and lost nine votes cast by military voters for the president.

This is what federal prosecutors said Thursday. It happened in Lucerne County, which is an important county in Pennsylvania in the northeastern part of the state. Trump flipped it over in 201

6. Attorney General William Barr personally introduced the matter to Trump. Trump and the White House hyped the news even before the Justice Department announced it. Since then, Trump has seized on this point to support their argument that mailing votes will lead to fraud-multiple studies have refuted this lie.

But the original Pennsylvania prosecutor’s story proved to be misleading and incomplete. A few hours after the announcement, the U.S. Department of Justice deleted it from its website and issued a revised statement stating that although investigators had recovered nine votes, they could only determine that seven of them were voted for. Rumpu. Later, the department issued a third statement detailing some of the early findings of its investigation. Although the letter states that officials actually found “discarded” votes (the term is not defined), it implies that administrative errors may have played a role.

The former Department of Justice staff said that the half-naked public statement of the U.S. Department of Justice was very unusual. He pointed out that the Department of Justice’s own manual warned prosecutors to minimize the impact of the investigation on the election. Even if a public statement is indeed issued in an election fraud investigation, Justice Department officials usually do not say who voted. This incident has further aroused people’s alarm that the president may use the country’s most powerful law enforcement agency to support his re-election.

“Confirming or denying the existence of the investigation violates the policy of the Department of Justice. By making exceptions to this rule, the American lawyer is posing as a sign that he is using his office to advance President Trump’s political agenda.” Served in the Obama administration in Michigan Said Barbara McQuaid of the U.S. Attorney in the state.

In Pennsylvania, election officials are prohibited from mailing ballots before election day. However, overseas and military voters who can use different assemblies to vote can return to voting requests and vote in similar envelopes. Election officials in Lucerne County told investigators that it was difficult to distinguish between actual votes and ballot requirements, so they opened almost all envelopes that arrived at the office to ensure they did not miss any requests.

“Our interview further shows that this issue is a problem in the general election, so it is a known issue, and this issue has not been corrected,” the US Attorney for the Central District of Pennsylvania, David Freed, wrote in a letter. Wrote in.

County manager David Pedri said in a statement on Friday that the seasonal contractor hired on September 14 sorted the mail and threw the ballots into the office trash. Shelby Watchilla, the county election director, discovered the problem on September 16 and caught the attention of county officials, who then contacted law enforcement. Pedri said that federal agents searched the trash can during the three days that the contractor was hired, and election officials did not know who the voters were until the Justice Department announced on Thursday. The county also provides additional training for employees and is equipped with cameras to monitor office activities.

“Although this person’s actions have attracted people’s attention, the above statement shows that the system of checks and balances stipulated in the Pennsylvania election is effective. When an error occurred, the civil servant found the error and reported it to the local, state, and federal level. Law enforcement agencies, they took over the task to ensure the integrity of the system.” Pedri said in a statement.

“Voters in Lucerne County should be assured that the election will proceed in a transparent and honest manner. Every correct vote will be counted.”

More than a week after Fried took over the investigation at the request of the Lucerne County District Attorney, he publicly announced some of his findings. Some of the initial findings on their faces seemed shocking-in addition to the 9 military votes in question, Fried also stated that his office also found “4 of them were obviously official, and the barcoded absentee voting envelope was empty. Yes.” He wrote that most of the material was found in the trash can outside the office. Freed said in a letter on Thursday that he disclosed information based on the “public importance of these issues.”

Justin Levitt, a former senior official in the Civil Rights Department of the Justice Department, said that although the investigation may be reasonable, there is no need to publish a list of unverified facts.

“Minor mistakes can be followed up by the Department of Justice. The investigation does not seem to make much sense.” said Levitt, a professor at the Loyola School of Law in Los Angeles. “Telling the White House is a problem. You will not tell the White House about the upcoming investigation because politicians may abuse the information (exactly like them).”

“You will not release news at the beginning of the investigation, nor will you press releases on partial (and unconfirmed) facts, and there is absolutely no doubt that you 100% will not mention candidates in the press release. The legitimate reason for candidate information is zero.” He added.

However, David Iglesias, who served as an American attorney in New Mexico for George W Bush, said that if the preliminary findings are not fully understood, the integrity of the mailed vote may be questioned.

He added that he couldn’t think of any good reasons for law enforcement, and that he publicly shared the results of the Lucerne investigation so early, “only for political reasons.”




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