A woman that was walking her dog in East Hollywood this weekend came across quite the sight... a box full of over 100 mail-in ballots for the upcoming election.
"I turned the corner and I just saw this box of envelopes, and it was a USPS box. I picked some envelopes up and I saw they were ballots,"
Christina Repaci, the woman who found the box of ballots, told Fox LA
Repaci recounts how she took the box of ballots home to keep them safe. She posted videos of the ballots on social media, asking for help on what to do next. After contacting a number of different politicians in Los Angeles and even the LA County Sheriff's Department.
"I actually called the Sheriff's Department. I couldn't get through, so I emailed them,"
She continued by saying:
"I got an email back from a deputy basically in so many words saying it wasn't their problem, and to contact the USPS."
After a cat and mouse game of trying to figure out what she'd do with the ballots, the Los Angeles County Registrar's Office contacted her about picking up the ballots. Registrar Dean Logan drove to Christina and picked them up personally.
"He [Logan] picked them up. I made sure he was legit. He gave me a card, and took a photo of the box,"
Not only was this a weird process, but it was a very stressful situation for Repaci.
"It was so much stress and for just one person to get back to me. What do I do here? Now if it happens to someone else, they don't know what to do. They'll just put them in a dumpster or throw them in the trash. I just don't think it should have been this hard to figure out what to do with legal ballots. This is a country of freedom and our votes should matter and something like this should never happen,"
The LA County Registrar's Office released a statement following the incident. The statement read:
"Our office was notified over the weekend of a mail tray found containing approximately 104 unopened, outbound Vote by Mail ballots and additional mail pieces. Thanks to the cooperation of the person who found the ballots, we were able to quickly respond and coordinate the secure pickup of the ballots. We have reissued new ballots to the impacted voters. Early signs indicate that this was an incident of mail theft and not a directed attempt at disrupting the election. We are cooperating with the United States Postal Service and law enforcement to investigate.
Security protocols such as signature verification are in place to protect against any misuse or wrongdoing of Vote by Mail ballots. If a voter sees or hears something that could impact the voting process, they are encouraged to call our office directly at (800) 815-2666 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If a voter has not received their ballot by the end of this week, we encourage them to sign up to Where’s My Ballot? – a free service that sends automatic notifications by text, email, and voicemail to voters throughout California."
A situation like this raises so many questions. How did these ballots get here? Why were they left in a neighborhood, unattended? Why did someone have all of these ballots in the first place?