FOX VALLEY AREA REGIONAL NEWS: Calumet County, Fond du Lac County, Outagamie County, Winnebago County

UPDATE: Photos of absentee ballots found in Outagamie County Ditch released

Election
FRIDAY 2/19/2021 1:01 p.m.

(WFRV) – Multiple photos of mail that was scattered throughout a ditch in Outagamie County were released by the Outagamie County Sheriff’s Office.

No further information has been released as the investigation is still ongoing.

The Outagamie County Sheriff’s Office released a statement when the incident happened:

On Monday, September 21, 2020, shortly before 8:00 a.m., the Outagamie County Sheriff’s Office was dispatched to a hazard on STH 96 at CTH CB in the Town of Greenville. Three trays of US mail were found on the side the road and in the ditch line. The mail was supposed to be in transit to the post office. The content of the mail was mixed, but did contain several absentee ballots. The mail was turned over to the Postal Inspector.

Wisconsin’s top election official says there were no Wisconsin absentee ballots amid mail that was discovered in a ditch outside of Appleton.

Meagan Wolfe, administrator for the Wisconsin Elections Commission, said at the time that the U.S. Postal Service investigation into what was found is ongoing.

But Wolfe at the time said she had been told there were no Wisconsin ballots among the mail found.

Wolfe says she did not know if ballots from another state was in the mail.

ORIGINAL: Officials investigating box of mail, absentee ballots found in Outagamie County ditch

THURSDAY 9/24/2020 12:48 p.m.

GREENVILLE, Wis. (WFRV) – The Office of Inspector General is conducting an investigation after a box of mail was found in a ditch in Outagamie County.

According to a social media post shared with WFRV Local 5, the box was found on Tuesday and turned over to the Outagamie County Sheriff’s Office.

WFRV Local 5 reached out to the U.S. Postal Service for comment. Officials provided us with this statement:

We are aware of some mail, including absentee ballots, recovered in Greenville, Outagamie County earlier this week. The United States Postal Inspection Service has asked the Office of Inspector General (OIG) to conduct an investigation regarding these issues. The Postal Service will respond to the OIG findings once the investigation is concluded. We have no further information to provide at this time.

The Outagamie County Sheriff’s Office released a statement Thursday afternoon, saying:

On Monday, September 21, 2020, shortly before 8:00 a.m., the Outagamie County Sheriff’s Office was dispatched to a hazard on STH 96 at CTH CB in the Town of Greenville. Three trays of US mail were found on the side the road and in the ditch line. The mail was supposed to be in transit to the post office. The content of the mail was mixed, but did contain several absentee ballots. The mail was turned over to the Postal Inspector.

There have been some concerns over mail-in ballots in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

A federal judge recently ruled that absentee ballots in Wisconsin can be counted up to six days after the Nov. 3 presidential election as long as they are postmarked by Election Day. On Wednesday, the Republican-controlled Wisconsin Legislature appealed the ruling.

Changes at the United States Postal Service initiated by a Trump Administration appointee caused a rapid deterioration in the first-class mail on-time delivery rate, according to a new report released by the top Senate Democrat in charge of postal oversight.

Last week, a U.S. judge blocked controversial Postal Service changes that have slowed mail nationwide, calling them “a politically motivated attack on the efficiency of the Postal Service” before the November election.

In April, Wisconsin election officials announced they were working with the U.S. Postal Service to locate absentee ballots that never made it to voters in time, including three bins in the Oshkosh and Appleton area. Wolfe said because absentee ballots had to be postmarked by Tuesday, those voters who didn’t vote in person but not have any recourse.

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