The Nov 8 election ballots and voter information guides were recovered and delivered the same day
An investigation is under way after mail-in ballots and voter information guides for the Nov. 8 election were found inside a dumpster at a Lake Elsinore apartment complex, officials said.
The Riverside County Registrar of Voters received a report about the discovery on Wednesday, Oct. 19, the registrar’s office said in an emailed statement. The U.S. Postal Service confirmed the report.
It’s unclear how many ballots and guides were found in the dumpster or where the apartment complex in question is located. A resident reported on social media that at least 100 pieces of election-related mail were in the trash.
The ballots and guides were recovered and mailed the same day, the registrar’s office and postal service said. Elections officials and postal service inspectors are investigating and the matter has been referred to law enforcement, according to Patrick Munar, a registrar’s spokesperson.
A referral also was made to the postal service inspector general, postal service spokesperson Duke Gonzales said via email.
“We take very seriously any allegation of mishandling mail,” Gonzales said.
On Facebook, Lake Elsinore resident Jennifer Bollman posted two photos of what she said were the ballots and guides found in the dumpster.
A neighbor discovered the material in the dumpster while taking out the trash, Bollman wrote.
“She recovered what she could and placed (them in) front of our mailboxes but there were still over 100 left in the dumpster that she could not reach,” Bollman’s post read.
She also wrote: “This is ABSOLUTELY NOT RIGHT. This is why we should not have Mail-In Ballots unless requested. Our election system is corrupt and this is why. I don’t care what your political affiliation is. THIS SHOULD BE TAKEN VERY SERIOUSLY.”
Voters concerned that their ballot or voter guide may have been affected by the incident can call postal service consumer affairs at 858-674-2670 or the postal inspection service at 877-876-2455.
Voters can sign up at california.ballottrax.net to get an email or text when their vote-by-mail ballot is mailed and when their ballot is received and verified by their local registrar.
Voting by mail has come under scrutiny, especially among Republicans, over concerns the ballots could be compromised.
Election audits and investigations by media outlets and other groups found no evidence of widespread voter fraud in the U.S. Riverside County officials insist voting by mail is safe and that the system has built-in protections against fraud and voters who try to cast multiple ballots in the same election.