A federal prosecutor in Pennsylvania says his office has launched an investigation after a small number of mail-in ballots cast in the upcoming election were found discarded.
US attorney for the Middle District of the battleground state, David Freed, said his office and the FBI were contacted on Monday by Luzerne County District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis.
She had concerns about a small number of mail-in ballots at the Luzerne County Board of Elections.
Mr Freed said a 'small number of military ballots' had been discarded.
He said: “Of the nine ballots that were discarded and then recovered, seven were cast for presidential candidate Donald Trump. Two of the discarded ballots had been resealed inside their appropriate envelopes by Luzerne elections staff prior to recovery by the FBI and the contents of those two ballots are unknown.”
Earlier, his office had claimed all nine ballots had been cast for Mr Trump, before the claim was retracted.
A spokeswoman for Mr Freed's office said the ballots “were improperly opened” by county staff.
Mr Trump carried the state in 2016 by 44,000 votes. Mr Trump has stoked doubt over the legitimacy of mass mail-in votes in this year’s contest.
On Thursday, Mr Trump said: “We want to make sure the election is honest and I'm not sure that it can be. I don't know that it can be with this whole situation, unsolicited ballots.”
The inquiry is ongoing.