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Here's Why a County Election Official in PA Admitted Poll Workers Violated State Law

AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File

The Board of Elections Director in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, Tom Freitag, admitted to Project Veritas that a poll worker violated state and federal law when spoiled ballots were thrown in the garbage outside of the election office.

Some of the ballots Project Veritas journalists uncovered had "SPOILED" written on them in permanent marker. Others had voter signatures on the ballot and/or the envelopes. The majority of them were pieces, as though the poll workers had also ripped them in various directions. There were a few full ballots though.

Freitag was confronted after Project Veritas uncovered a number of ballots tossed in two trash bags. According to Freitag, all spoiled ballots are to be held onto for 22 months, not thrown in the garbage.

"So, just to reiterate, this does appear like an official ballot and the rules were not followed correctly, right?" the journalist asked.

"That's what it looks like," Freitag said as he looked over a full ballot.

According to Freitag, poll workers might not be aware of "brand new law" or they fail to understand it.

"Whoever was the judge of elections didn't do it correctly," Freitag confirmed. "The poll worker should not have thrown it in the garbage."

Although he didn't say whether or not it was legal to trash the spoiled ballots, he did say they "should be sent back to us so we can hold onto it, for I believe it's 22 months."

After the ballot is stored for two years, Freitag said it's ultimately shredded. 

Interestingly enough, a poll worker named Amy admitted they're supposed to hold onto all spoiled ballots so they can be stored.

"So they become spoiled and they write 'spoiled' on them and they're going into a 'spoiled' bag that's kept in the warehouse after Election Day for a period of time," she explained. "And I did talk to someone. I believe in three years that we have to hold onto them and then nothing gets thrown out. I believe after the period they get shredded but I'm not 100 percent sure on that."

According to Pennsylvania state law, the board of elections must hold onto the spoiled ballot (emphasis mine):

(i)  (1)  Application for official absentee ballots shall be on physical and electronic forms prescribed by the Secretary of the Commonwealth. The application shall state that an elector who [receives and votes] applies for an absentee ballot pursuant to section 1301 shall not be eligible to vote at a polling place on election day[.] unless the elector brings the elector's absentee ballot to the elector's polling place, remits the ballot and the envelope containing the declaration of the elector to the judge of elections to be spoiled and signs a statement subject to the penalties of 18 Pa.C.S. § 4904 (relating to unsworn falsification to authorities) to the same effect. Such physical application forms shall be made freely available to the public at county board of elections, municipal buildings and at such other locations designated by the secretary. Such electronic application forms shall be made freely available to the public through publicly accessible means. No written application or personal request shall be necessary to receive or access the application forms. Copies and records of all completed physical and electronic applications for official absentee ballots shall be retained by the county board of elections.

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