Box of mail, absentee ballots found in Wisconsin ditch

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CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – AUGUST 13: A postal worker leaves a United State Postal Service facility on August 13, 2020 in Chicago, Illinois. President Donald Trump said today that he opposes additional funding for the Postal Service because the lack of additional funding would make it more difficult to deliver mail-in ballots. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

GREENVILLE, Wis. (WFRV) – A box of mail was found this week in a ditch in Outagamie County, Wisconsin.

According to a social media post shared with WFRV, the box, which included three trays of mail including absentee ballots, was found Tuesday and turned over to the Outagamie County Sheriff’s Office.

The mail was returned to the U.S. Postal Service, which said in a 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.

There have been concerns over mail-in ballots in light of the coronavirus pandemic, with tens of millions of Americans expected to vote by mail instead of in person at polling places. The USPS has warned that it can’t guarantee mailed ballots will arrive on time.

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 Postal Service initiated by a Trump administration appointee caused a rapid deterioration in the first-class mail on-time delivery rate, according to a recent report.

The Postal Service’s new leader, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, implemented a series of policy changes that have delayed mail and sparked concern over the agency’s ability to handle the large number of mail-in ballots anticipated this fall.

On Monday, U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero in Manhattan ordered the Postal Service to prioritize election mail.

“The right to vote is too vital a value in our democracy to be left in a state of suspense in the minds of voters weeks before a presidential election, raising doubts as to whether their votes will ultimately be counted,” he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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