As many as 100 ballots were damaged on Sunday night when a ballot box in Baldwin Park, California, went up in flames.
Firefighters were called to the scene at around 8 p.m. The charred ballots inside the metal box were transferred to the Los Angeles County registrar-recorder’s office, and they are trying to determine if any can be saved. Los Angeles County Fire Department spokeswoman Leslie Lua told the Los Angeles Times arson is being investigated as a possible cause, and if that’s the case, it will be the first time a ballot box in the county has ever intentionally been set on fire.
Baldwin Park Mayor Manuel Lozano on Monday said the county decided where to put the drop-off boxes, and this box was in an area that was “not particularly well-lit.” The fire “angers me,” he told the Times. “You’re literally denying someone’s constitutional right to vote, and that’s unacceptable.” Lozano said he’s already heard from many residents who are now worried about something happening to their ballots, so they are holding onto them until Election Day or will vote in person.
The ballot boxes are being emptied every 72 hours, but Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn is asking they now be emptied out nightly until the election. So far, more than 3.7 million ballots have already been cast in California, with 1 million coming out of Los Angeles County.