A woman walking her dog in East Hollywood found a box of 104 unopened mail-in ballots on the sidewalk on Saturday evening.
Christina Repaci, the woman who found the ballots, said that she saw the USPS box just sitting there filled with envelopes. When she picked one up to investigate, she realized that they were ballots.
“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,” Repaci told Fox 11.
Repaci told the news station that she then took the ballots home for “safe keeping” while she determined what to do with them. She then began sending videos of the ballots to popular social media accounts asking them to share the content.
Finally, she called politicians and the sheriff’s department asking what to do.
“I actually called the Sheriff’s Department. I couldn’t get through, so I emailed them,” she said. “I got an email back from a deputy basically in so many words saying it wasn’t their problem, and to contact the USPS.”
The LA County Registrar’s office eventually contacted her to pick them up, and Registrar Dean Logan personally drove to pick them up.
“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,” said Repaci.
The Los Angeles County Registrar’s Office and the United States Postal Service have confirmed that they have launched an investigation into the mystery box of ballots.
The Registrar’s Office released the following statement about the ballots:
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 [email protected].
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.