USPS worker responsible for discarded absentee ballots no longer employed, could face federal charges

USPS worker responsible for discarded absentee ballots no longer employed, could face federal charges
A person found a pile of discarded USPS mail, including 112 absentee ballots for the upcoming election, on Thursday. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - A former USPS worker could face federal charges after more than 100 absentee ballots were found amid a pile of discarded USPS mail in a dumpster Thursday.

A statement from a spokesman for the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General said the person “is no longer employed by the USPS. I cannot provide any further details surrounding their employment due to federal privacy concerns.”

“The case has been accepted for federal prosecution by the U.S. Attorney’s Office,” Special Agent Scott Balfour wrote in the statement Friday. “They will determine what charges are appropriate after a review of all the facts in the case.”

Balfour had said Thursday that the 112 ballots and two political advertisements already were “returned to the USPS and will be delivered to customers (Thursday).”

He also said the discarded mail was intended for delivery in the Jeffersontown area, the 40299 zip code in particular.

Jefferson County Clerk’s Office spokesman Nore Ghibaudy tells WAVE 3 the discarded ballots were sent out Oct. 3 and should have only taken 3 to 4 days to arrive. As of Friday morning, election workers had issued more than 173,000 absentee ballots with only around 1,000 left to mail out.

Voters in Jefferson County can cast their ballots early at four different early voting locations; each location has a secure absentee ballot drop box. Some voters say the trashed ballot incident, whether it was fraud or something else, is why they don’t trust voting by mail.

“I had a problem getting my absentee ballot actually, I requested three times and never got it so I just decided to do it in person because it was easier for me,” Ashley Paul said.

In a Louisville Rotary meeting Thursday, Secretary of State Michael Adams highlighted Kentucky’s general election plan and recommend tracking absentee ballots on govoteky.com

“We have bar codes on all of the ballot envelopes on the way out and on the way back in; that enables you to check and see where your ballot is in the process,” he said.

A statement from Adams' office Friday characterized the trashed ballots as concerning:

What happened yesterday is incredibly concerning. However, postal employees and postal inspectors responded quickly and responsibly, insuring every ballot envelope was recovered and untimely delivered to the voter the same day. The Secretary of State and the State Board will continue to work closely with our partners at USPS to ensure the Commonwealths elections remain secure.

If you requested an absentee ballot that does not arrive by Oct. 28th, you can always cancel it and vote in person.

Copyright 2020 WAVE 3 News. All rights reserved.


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Get the WAVE 3 News app on ROKU, Apple TV and Amazon Fire. (Source: WAVE 3 News)