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Several discarded ballots were discovered in the middle of the street this week, just days before the election.
According to ABC7, Michael Sandoval found a pile of mail in the middle of Russell Avenue in Los Feliz Wednesday morning. The pile included a letter from the Employment Development Department, a copy of a driver’s license and four ballots. One of the ballots belonged to a woman who told the station she had dropped it off in a mailbox at the Los Feliz post office on Tuesday.
The Los Angeles Police Department picked up the discarded mail, handed the ballots over to the registrar’s office and launched an investigation to see if the mail was stolen.
Even though every vote counts, at first glance, four stray ballots may not seem like a big deal. Except this isn’t the first time in recent history that ballots have been damaged, discarded or undelivered.
Earlier this month, Osvaldo Jimenez found undelivered mail-in ballots, bank statements, bills and other important pieces of mail dumped in a trash can in a Santa Monica alley, prompting his wife to post photos of the find to Twitter. He discovered even more mail in a nearby recycling bin.
Also this month, someone set a Baldwin Hills drop box on fire, damaging as many as 100 ballots. County officials increased the frequency of scheduled pickups in response.
Someone could be stealing mail, rifling for valuable items — such as gift cards or birthday cards containing cash — and tossing the rest. Or maybe the mail just isn’t getting delivered at all. On Oct. 7, 26-year-old Postal Service employee Nicholas Beauchene was arrested for dumping 1,875 pieces of mail, including 99 ballots intended for New Jersey residents. He now faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. And back in September, surveillance video caught someone in a Budget rental vehicle dumping two bags of mail in a spa parking lot in Glendale.
If you’re concerned about the status of your ballot, you can track it here.