California ballot box intentionally set on fire

In California, a ballot box was intentionally set on fire and officials are investigating to see whose ballots may have been impacted

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A ballot box in California was set on fire and after putting out the blaze, dozens of damaged ballots were discovered.

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According to ABC7, an official ballot drop-off box in Baldwin Park went up in flames on Saturday night. Baldwin Park police discovered the fire around 8 p.m. Los Angeles County Fire Department put out the fire by inserting a hose into the ballot box, then the crew used a chainsaw to cut the box open. Once the officials gained entry, multiple damaged ballots were removed.

The news outlet detailed an estimated up to 100 damaged ballots were taken into police custody after firefighters claimed the fire was intentionally set. Investigators said a newspaper was lit and dropped into the ballot box.

Mayor Manuel Lozano said they believed up to 100 ballots were damaged by either the fire set or the water used to put it out.

“People are frustrated across the country, it’s no different in Baldwin Park,” Lozano told ABC7. “The incident that happened…does send a very bad message, as it is, the frustration with the voting box and then this occurs.”

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A voter drops off an absentee ballot for the November 3, 2020 elections into a collecting bin outside Fairfax County Government Center on October 19, 2020 in Fairfax, Virginia. Ballot boxes like these are allowing voters to submit absentee and early mail-in ballots. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Officials worked to return the ballots to the registrar’s office so voters whose votes may have been compromised are made aware. John Rios, a resident who dropped their ballot in the targeted box told ABC7 he is worried about his submission a couple of weeks ago.

“It makes me very mad because I’ve never seen it, I’ve never seen this,” said Rios, according to the report. “I’m 80 years old, I’ve been voting since I was 19, I’ve never seen something like this.”

This is not the first issue California voters have faced in 2020 with ballot boxes. Republicans placed unofficial ballot boxes at churches, gun shops, and other locations before they were ordered to remove them by state officials, according to theGrio. Secretary of State Alex Padilla, a Democrat, said state law only allows county election officials to set up official ballot drop boxes.

Read More: Absentee Ballot tracking service launched for Georgia voters

Republicans however, refused to remove the boxes, saying they are only trying to make things easier for voters.

“As of right now, we’re going to continue our ballot harvesting program,” California Republican Party spokesman Hector Barajas said according to theGrio.

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