Vote-by-Mail Drop Box Set Ablaze in Los Angeles Suburb

A pedestrian places a ballot in an official mail-in ballot drop box outside of the L.A. County Registrar’s office ahead of Election Day on October 14, 2020 in Norwalk, California. Over 1 million Californians have returned their mail-in ballots with Election Day over two weeks away, breaking the record for …
Mario Tama/Getty Images

A vote-by-mail drop-off box for ballots was set on fire on Sunday night in the Los Angeles suburb of Baldwin Park, destroying many completed ballots before firefighters could put out the fire.

Police are collecting surveillance footage and investigating the incident as arson. Baldwin Park’s Mayor Manuel Lozano told CBS Los Angeles more than 200 ballots were inside the ballot box.

Firefighters say they found a burning newspaper that was tossed intentionally into the ballot box, KABC reported.

Firefighters inserted a hose into the burning ballot box to extinguish the flames, then sliced open the box and removed dozens of charred and soaked ballots.

The Los Angeles County Registrar’s office said that it would notify the affected voters “and will ensure they can exercise their fundamental right to vote.”

At the time of the fire, the last time the ballots were collected from the box was nearly 36 hours ago. The registrar’s office said it would “immediately” increase ballot box pickups “at all other boxes.”

The Los Angeles Police Department is investigating, as well as the FBI and the attorney general.

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