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HARRISBURG, Pa. (ChurchMilitant.com) - Almost 60,000 mail-in ballots never arrived to their destinations in a Pennsylvania county that went heavily for Donald Trump in 2016.
Pittsburgh NBC affiliate WPXI is reporting that 58,000 ballots in Westmoreland County are missing in action. Meant to be sent out last week to homes in this red area of the state, they have yet to arrive.
The Westmoreland County Election Bureau is placing the blame on Midwest Direct, a county-hired independent contractor whose job it was to mail the ballots.
"The first batch of processed and approved applications was submitted to the County's mail house, Mid-West Direct, on Oct. 3rd," the bureau stated. "It has been brought to our attention today that Mid-West did not send out the ballots on Tuesday as indicated."
WPXI reporter Rick Earle broke the story on Twitter Oct. 8.
"Nearly 60,000 mail in ballots for voters in Westmoreland county were supposed to be mailed out on Tuesday but election officials discovered today they were never sent. Contractor responsible for mailing them says they will go out tomorrow," he tweeted.
In the comment section of his tweet, "Sowhat" responded by voicing what many Republicans were undoubtedly thinking: "Dems say no problems with mail in ballots. Coincidence over 60,000 mail-in ballots were never sent in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, a place that President Trump won in 2016 by over 30 points."
Once citizens raised concerns about not receiving their ballots after an ample amount of time, WPXI contacted the secretary of the commonwealth and the attorney general about the problem. County officials responded that the ballots were not discarded or lost, but rather never sent out because of a backlog during the weekend. They plan to mail the ballots on Monday.
Scott Hounsell, a writer for Redstate.com, stated: "We all know that, if this were a Democrat-heavy county, this would have made national news."
In 2016, Donald Trump won Pennsylvania's highly coveted delegates by beating Hillary Clinton by only 45,000 votes. For obvious reasons, Republicans are concerned that a 60,000-vote mistake could be the difference in November, not only for Pennsylvania, but also for the nation.
Elsewhere, ballots in Allegheny County, a heavily Democratic area that includes Pittsburgh and abuts Westmoreland County, were mailed September 24 — almost two weeks before Westmoreland County disclosed the problem with its missing ballots. There is no word yet from the commonwealth as to whether there will be an extension for Westmoreland voters.
As Hounsell observes, "If these ballots were to be provided this week and were not, this could lead to a challenge in the courts to extend the deadline for the ballots to be returned."
Hounsell also maintains that this is the third significant problem with ballots that has been found recently in a battleground state.
"This is the third six-figure voter mistake in a battleground state this week," he wrote. "Yet, somehow, we are supposed to have confidence in officials' ability to conduct this process without screwing it up or opening it up to massive fraud."
On Oct. 8, it was reported that discarded voter ballots were discovered in Twentynine Palms and Joshua Tree. According to San Bernardino County sheriff's officials in southern California, a citizen had informed sheriff's deputies that they found discarded mail that included voter ballots.
Last week it was reported that a mail carrier in New Jersey was arrested for allegedly discarding mail that included almost 100 election ballots.
As USA Today reports, absentee ballots have been routinely discarded in past elections due to a variety of irregularities. Because of the extraordinary number of ballots mailed this election cycle, the number of ballots discarded could reach the millions.
As the teaching of the Church attests, cheating is a form of stealing. If it is proven that mail-in ballots are being intentionally discarded or withdrawn by any of the middlemen that handle mail between the citizen and the vote-counters, it would be a serious violation of the Seventh Commandment. Such an act would be a grave injustice against the common good and the individuals involved whose rights are being trampled.