Philadelphia election officials scrambled Wednesday after a computer and two flash drives used to program electronic voting machines were stolen, according to a Philadelphia Inquirer report.
The three items are the only pieces of election equipment that were stolen, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported. Officials said the theft would not affect voting in the upcoming presidential election.
“We are confident that this incident will not in any way compromise the integrity of the election,” said Nick Custodio, a deputy to chair of the city commissioners Lisa Deeley, who oversees elections, The Inquirer reported.
Philadelphia election officials decided not to publicize the theft because they didn’t want President Donald Trump using it as proof of election fraud, according to The Inquirer. The city refused to confirm the incident happened and police deferred questions on a potential investigation to the mayor’s office.
However, officials confirmed the theft upon learning The Inquirer were publishing a story on the incident.
“Since being informed of the incident, I have immediately committed to making necessary police resources available to investigate this incident and find the perpetrators,” said Mayor Jim Kenney in a statement, The Inquirer reported.
He added: “I have also committed to the city commissioners additional resources to provide enhanced security at the warehouse going forward.”
The integrity of voting and mail-in ballots was a topic during in the first presidential debate Tuesday. Trump said there would be fraud in the election while Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said he wouldn’t trust the courts to decide a contested election.
“This is going to be a fraud like you’ve never seen,” Trump said. “You know, we might not know for months.”
He continued: “I hope it is a fair election … but if I see tens of thousands of ballots being manipulated, I can’t go along with that.”
Many states have changed their voting policies for November’s general election to allow more people to vote by mail, according to Vote.org. A record 76% of Americans will be able to vote by mail in the general election, The New York Times reported.
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