Fact Check – Pennsylvania Postal Worker Waffles on Election Fraud Claim

A postal worker in Erie, Pennsylvania, who claimed that his superiors were backdating the postmarks on ballots received after Election Day recanted his allegation, the House Committee on Oversight and Reform announced on Nov. 10, citing information from the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General.

But Richard Hopkins, the mail carrier who made the allegation, later said that he hasn’t recanted.

His claim was that two days after the election, he heard the Erie postmaster say to a supervisor that they had “messed up” by failing to backdate the postmark on a ballot that arrived after Nov. 3 at the Erie postal facility.

State law in Pennsylvania requires mail-in ballots to be received by Election Day in order to be counted. But a state Supreme Court ruling in September extended the deadline to Nov. 6, as requested by Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration, as long as the ballots were postmarked or presumed to be postmarked by Nov. 3, Election Day. Republicans have challenged the ruling at the U.S. Supreme Court, and the secretary of the commonwealth ordered election officials to keep late-arriving ballots separate for now.

Many aspects of Hopkins’ claim are unclear — from its shaky underpinnings to whether or not it has been recanted — but we’ll lay out what we know since President Donald Trump and his supporters are using it in their effort to blame widespread voter fraud for Trump’s defeat in the election.

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