PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The Bucks County Board of Elections has sequestered about 8,000 absentee ballots until after the election.

The decision follows a hearing in which Republicans accused the Democrats of committing voter fraud and intimidating voters into applying for absentee ballots.

While the Board apparently found no evidence of fraud it chose not to release the ballots to precincts where they could be counted. Instead, the Board will examine the ballots after the election is over, a move that could greatly boost the chances of GOP congressional candidate Mike Fitzpatrick:

“The ballots will be kept in the county courthouse, the election will go on and if required, those ballots will be reviewed at the appropriate time and decisions made by the Board of elections.”

The Democratic incumbent, Patrick Murphy, is disappointed:

“It’s clear that Mike Fitzpatrick and his Republican allies are making up election law as they go along for political purposes, using Florida-style tactics in an attempt to steal the election.”

Republicans control the Board of Elections. Murphy’s campaign is now working on a legal challenge to the decision.

Anyone who had an absentee ballot rejected can reapply up until Tuesday.

Reported By Paul Kurtz, KYW Newsradio 1060

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