FAYETTE CO., Pa. — The Fayette County District Attorney’s Office is investigating reports of ballots that were sent to registered voters but already filled out completely when they arrived.
Officials said in a press conference Friday that two ballots -- sent to one voter in Brownsville and another in Farmington -- were completely filled out when those residents got them.
According to the district attorney Richard Bower, because those two ballots were sent about 40 miles apart, his office believes this was not an isolated incident.
They also said envelopes to other ballots had been ripped open before arriving at the county election bureau, and some were missing the secrecy envelope (naked ballots).
Bower said this is a very serious crime and his office is investigating how this could have happened.
“This is a very serious crime to doctor ballots and even steal ballots. They’re sent out by mail and could even be a federal crime in my opinion," he said.
This is just the latest issue seen across Pa. and the country regarding mail-in ballots. On Thursday, Butler County officials said they are investigating a large number of lost and delayed ballots just days ahead of Election Day.
Ballots in Fayette County come straight from county headquarters. They don’t use a third-party company to print or distribute them.
Bower said they’re now stepping up security inside the election office -- adding more checks and balances by having two sets of eyes checking each ballot.
The DA said new ballots can be printed for those ballots that were comprised, but at least one of those voters is electing to go to the poll in-person to vote on Tuesday.