US postal worker and vote ‘whistle-blower’ recants allegations

The Trump campaign had seized on the Pennsylvania worker’s allegations, but he told investigators they were made up.

A postal worker has retracted a claim that he witnessed fraud in postal voting in Pennsylvania [File: Eduardo Munoz/Reuters]

A worker with the United States Postal Service (USPS) in Pennsylvania who went public with allegations of ballot tampering and signed an affidavit, has retracted his statement, according to the House Oversight Committee.

On November 6, Richard Hopkins told a right-wing activist website that he had witnessed his supervisor talking about backdating ballots and was later contacted by USPS investigators.

But the investigators informed committee staff on Tuesday evening that Hopkins had recanted his allegations and would not explain why he had signed the false affidavit.

President Donald Trump has been trying to challenge the outcome of last week’s election, which was declared for Democrat Joe Biden on Saturday, by claiming – without any evidence – there was widespread voting fraud.

The day after Hopkins went public, he created a GoFundMe page saying he was willing to testify under oath that ballots were being backdated and asked for donations because he said his employer was threatening his job.

“Your donations are going to help me in the case I am wrongfully terminated from my job or I am forced into resigning due to [sic] ostrizization by my coworkers,” the GoFundMe page stated.

“It will help me get a new start in a place I feel safe and help me with child support until I am able to get settled and get a job.”

As of Tuesday evening, Hopkins had raised $133,000, but hours after Al Jazeera reached out to him for comment the GoFundMe page was deleted and he did not respond

Postal vote surge

The Washington Post newspaper earlier reported that 32-year-old Hopkins had admitted to the USPS investigators that he had made up the allegations, citing three officials who had been briefed on the investigation.

Senior Republican Senator Lindsey Graham had seized on the postal worker’s testimony when he asked the Justice Department to investigate election fraud allegations, and Attorney General William Barr opened that investigation, the paper said.

Asked about Hopkins on a press call on Tuesday evening, the Trump campaign’s communications director Tim Murtaugh said, “He filed a very detailed affidavit, he named names, he described explicitly what it is that he experienced, and we don’t know what kind of pressure he has been under since he made those statements.”

Legal filings in Pennsylvania have referred to very few cases of suspected fraud. Voting is still continuing in states including Arizona and Georgia, which remain too close to call.

President Donald Trump and his campaign have filed numerous lawsuits in key swing states and asked courts to issue injunctions to stop the certification of the results.

Biden was named the winner of the election on Saturday after he took the key battleground state of Pennsylvania and has been congratulated on his victory by leaders around the world, as well as many Republicans.

The election took place as the coronavirus pandemic accelerated in the US, and millions of people opted to vote by post rather than in person because of concerns about the disease.

Source: Al Jazeera